This government and our Premier have recently designated April as Daffodil Month – a month to raise awareness of cancer in our province and to show our government’s support for those living with cancer.
Cancer has no bias – it affects everyone.
We all know someone who has experience cancer, is currently living with cancer or has died from cancer. Our families, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbours.
The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that 910 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in our province in 2011.
Sadly, they also estimate that 350 Islanders died from the disease this past year.
We remember those who have died from cancer those who continue to live with the often devastating effects of the disease.
The Province of Prince Edward Island is standing with them.
Over the past few years, our province has made tremendous progress in cancer care across Prince Edward Island.
Government was pleased to open the expanded PEI Cancer Treatment Centre in 2009, a $4.1 million dollar investment including a new linear accelerator and significant increases in staff.
In 2010, our government signed an MOU on wait time guarantees for radiation therapy.
According to the 2012 Canadian Institute for Health Information Report, PEI has 96% of patients meeting the national standards for radiation wait – leading Atlantic Canada in this category.
We have added coverage to 10 new cancer drugs under the PEI drug formulary.
For the past four years, we have provided grade 6 girls with a vaccine against the HPV virus. HPV has been shown to cause 99% of cervical cancer.
We have seen outstanding success in reducing Breast Cancer Screening Wait times to days rather than months.
In 2010, we hired a new Cancer Patient Navigator.
The Navigator connects cancer patients directly to the cancer education and support specialists they need, reassuring they and their families in the first steps of the treatment process.
Last spring, our government launched a Provincial Colorectal Cancer Screening Program and a permanent Colorectal Cancer Screen Coordinator was hired in October 2011.
More than 3,300 (three thousand three hundred) Islanders have completed screening between May 2011 and February 2012.
Here on Prince Edward Island, we have many wonderful organization who are working diligently to help in cancer awareness. I especially want to thank Health PEI and the PEI Division of the Canadian Cancer Society for their work.
The Canadian Cancer Society has been very active for the past 75 years in its goal of eradicating cancer and improving the quality of life for the people of Prince Edward Island living with cancer.
We had an opportunity earlier this afternoon to meet with the wonderful people at the Canadian Cancer Society and to hear the empowering words of Charles Keliher- a cancer survivor.
Today we wear the daffodil to promote awareness for cancer screening and cancer research, to recognize the impact that cancer has on our community, to support those living and fighting cancer every day of their life, and to symbolize the work our community has done and will continue to do to battle cancer.
I ask all Members of this House of Assembly to support the efforts of the Canadian Cancer Society by wearing the daffodil pin to show that Prince Edward Island is determined to beat this disease and support those Islanders and their families who are living with cancer.