QUEEN’S PARK – Wayne Gates, MPP for Niagara Falls, tabled a motion today to ensure PSA testing for early detection of prostate cancer is eligible for coverage under OHIP.
“A cancer diagnosis is frightening news to receive but testing for prostate cancer can make all the difference when it comes to treatment,” said Gates. “I am proud to support the campaign to extend OHIP coverage to make PSA testing available when requested by a physician.”
One in eight Canadian men are expected to receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer amongst Canadian men and has disproportionate impacts among Black men, including those of African or Caribbean ancestry, and those with a family history. When prostate cancer is found early, almost 100 per cent of men will survive five years or more.
“The PSA test is a key step in detecting prostate cancer early when it is often easier to treat and yet, unlike in other provinces, Ontarians are still stuck with out-of-pocket costs to access this test,” explains Dr Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice President, Mission, Research and Advocacy, Canadian Cancer Society. “It’s been more than two years since MPP Gates’ first motion to have this test covered by OHIP was passed with all-party support, but its implementation has been stalled since then. Today’s motion is a blunt reminder that it’s past time for action for the approximate 28 men in Ontario who are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer today.”
“Early detection is critical for prostate cancer, and the PSA test is a simple and effective way to help people get diagnosed and access care before their prognosis gets worse,” said Gates. “By ensuring PSA tests are covered under OHIP, Ontarians will be able to get tested when they are concerned for their health without a cost barrier and after they’ve discussed the decision with their healthcare provider. I encourage all Ontarians with prostates to consider their risk and talk to their healthcare provider about whether the PSA test is right for them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has created long delays and interruptions in care for people across the province, which may result in more late-stage cancer diagnoses.
“Our health care system needs vital investments and policies that support and respect health care workers,” said Gates. “Encouraging early detection measures is a small, but important way to ease the strain on the system.”
Motion – MPP Wayne Gates
That, in the opinion of this House, the Ontario government should follow the lead of eight other Canadian provinces and ensure PSA testing is an eligible procedure under OHIP for individuals referred by their healthcare provider.