Oncology loss over a four-year horizon

This campaign leaves a parallel world almost as virtual as the environment created by COVID-19.

Posted at 1:00 p.m.

Dennis Slyeres

Dennis Slyeres
Hematologist and medical oncologist at the Montreal University Hospital Center

In fact, it’s hard to fathom that a four-year cycle is enough to reinvent the world, or even Quebec society. Our mortgages, on the other hand, are set for 20 to 30 year repayment terms, and the community tries to review all of its fundamentals every four years in 35 campaign days.

In my field, oncology, every advance is predictable years in advance. Clinical development of a new test or treatment takes 4 to 10 years. Hundreds of studies show results at periodic intervals, sometimes positive, often negative. This is the reality of development. Fundamental questions are rare because science generally develops slowly. We don’t invent penicillin every day! This notion of science is historical, while reality consists of daily hard work, fraught with failure and eternal renewal. Shouldn’t it be the same for civil society leaders?

Therefore, it is surprising in their eyes to see so many new and revolutionary proposals coming from political parties and specifically from the government, which had the opportunity to update its plan and propose to the population whether to continue it or not. ..

Why are the parties and the population so attached to this content, almost devilishly, without time for analysis by independent public affairs experts? And moreover, why is the population accepting this stream of proposals when for several years politicians have been more inclined to attack each other than to work together for collective growth?

Like the scientific method, each party will benefit from years of program support with educational and protest goals that cannot be accomplished in 35 days. Conversely, in order to stand out during the campaign, one says white and the other black, and the truth or solution often has shades of gray.

This further fights for the necessary disinvestment of MPs in the day-to-day running of the state. Remove politics from the day-to-day management of ministries and stop the use of public property for electoral purposes. Candidates should present short- and medium-term goals with a budget and empower an independent and competent civil service to implement them.

Follow up

Back to oncology. Twenty years ago, in the early years of my practice, a relatively coherent cancer program in Quebec was proposed and developed by the medical community and patient associations with the Ministry of Health. Screening, case register, integrated care center, outcome assessment, participation in research, access to innovation, palliative care, etc. Many paved pages are now recycled and serve only to set up libraries and political speeches. The intentions remained a dead letter and the politicians succeeded after asking for a substantial mobilization of the stakeholders involved in the creation of this document.

In my opinion, as a result, Quebec, a relatively prosperous society, does not participate to the best of its ability in the development of knowledge in oncology and does not adequately assess the quality of care currently provided.

Due to lack of resources, structure, vision. Especially the vision, because the horizon of a politician is only four years. We’re falling behind, we’re denying patients choice, we’re underutilizing medical and professional opportunities by entangling them in administrative problems rather than encouraging them to participate in research. This is the type of discussion that an election campaign should offer: taking stock of our place in the world, in oncology, health care, education, the environment, etc. But that’s perhaps too much to ask when the craving for the epithet of the day is more important to capture the attention of reporters who also have limited deadlines and favor finding a topic before the depth of analysis.

At the moment, everyone in Quebec society prefers to look for their candy in the package of events, rather than being interested in social development, such as a coherent intervention plan to reduce cancer mortality. This is consistent with policy proposals that are purposefully patronizing. An inclusive and continuous public discourse is necessary for the reintegration of politics into everyday life, which does not contain partisan salvos and which can create the foundations for a society that can develop without being limited to the exercise of political leadership, which has become ineffective, counterproductive. , marketing and fake.

French statesman Jean-Pierre Raffarin says that elections do not remove problems. What is true! I might add that primary politics make them worse by raising passions at the expense of conciliation and factual determination of issues. Meanwhile, the cancer patients I see live with hope that politics can’t provide, despite the promises. Just science and an updated plan to care for them.

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