1-855-561-PINK to help reduce the length of the pre-diagnosis process for breast cancer

The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is proud to announce the launch of Diagnosis Project. The goal of this unique project is to cut breast cancer pre-diagnosis time lengths down to seven weeks and to ease the plight of those impacted during the pre-diagnosis process. To that end, the Foundation has set up 1-855-561-PINK, a help phone line providing support and help navigating the process. Over the next three years, they will also work with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to roll out pilot projects to reduce diagnosis time lengths.

"While the cure rate for breast cancer is increasing, ever younger women are being diagnosed. This is a major issue and we don't have much data, but we have to start taking it seriously now," says Karine-Iseult Ippersiel, President and CEO of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. "The Foundation was compelled to act and use its expertise and network to change things."

Every year in Quebec, an estimated 6,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,300 will die from it. We also know that an early diagnosis of breast cancer increases the chances of survival; for breast cancer treated at an early stage, the 5-year survival rate is 99%. 18% of cancers diagnosed for women aged 20–49 are breast cancer. It's the leading cause of cancer death in that age group.

According to data collected by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the pre-diagnosis period can take up to 17 weeks in Quebec. That puts the province in the 10th position among Canadian provinces for women aged 50 to 69 who require a tissue biopsy after an abnormality is detected.

Given that one in eight women will develop breast cancer during her life, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation and the Ministry of Health and Social Services want to reduce these wait times.

"The past year has been especially hard in terms of health care wait times. We want to work together to speed up the process and involve key players in the fight against cancer," says Christian Dubé, Minister of Health and Social Services. "We are proud to support and recognize the work the Foundation is doing, and we hope this project will be useful to other healthcare players going forward."

The 1-855-561-PINK telephone line is available to anyone who needs support. It will also make it possible to document requests and identify various causes of diagnosis wait times to get a realistic picture of the situation in Quebec and to implement appropriate solutions.

The free service, available throughout Quebec, is provided by peer helpers who have received a breast cancer diagnosis themselves and who are trained to answer calls. They can explain the pre-diagnosis process, facilitate access to appropriate resources, provide emotional support and help patients navigate the healthcare system.

In 2022, the Foundation will launch a call for projects to the healthcare network. The following year, selected projects will be implemented to resolve identified issues, region by region. The projects will be evaluated at the end of this three-year period. Based on the project results, the Foundation will be able to recommend practical solutions the healthcare network can put in place to address the issues and needs raised on the phone line.

Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation's Diagnosis Project would not be possible without the help of selected healthcare experts and volunteers, peer helpers and many partners such as the Université de Sherbrooke and Cancérologie Québec