Sask. woman stuck waitlisted for breast cancer, knee replacement

REGINA - Today, the Saskatchewan NDP drew attention to the struggles of Lyndia Kakakaway - one of thousands of Saskatchewan people stuck waiting months and months for life-changing procedures, like knee replacements and breast cancer care.

“Lyndia is one of countless women in Saskatchewan stuck waiting for multiple procedures that should have been delivered months ago,” said Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck. “Saskatchewan is the birthplace of Medicare. There’s no excuse for our province to be last in Canada when it comes to wait times for key procedures.”

The Opposition was joined at the Legislature by Lyndia Kakakaway who is awaiting a breast assessment. Lyndia, 70, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986. Around 2002, the cancer spread to her back.

Three months ago, Lyndia’s family doctor felt a lump in her breast. The only option for timely care she has been given is to travel to Calgary, yet she is also waitlisted for a knee replacement and her mobility challenges prohibit her from making the trip.

In addition to nearly year-long waits for breast cancer care, Saskatchewan has the longest wait times in Canada for knee and hip replacements, according to the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information

“Frankly, it’s shocking that folks here have to travel to Calgary just to get a mammogram. This government can’t even get the basics right,” said Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “Healthcare in this province needs systematic reform, but after 17 years this government is straight out of new ideas.”

In Saskatchewan, the number of mammograms performed each year has been trending downwards since well before the pandemic. Last year, 10,000 fewer mammograms were performed in Saskatchewan compared to 2017, according to SaskCancer Agency Annual Reports. 

The Sask. Party government has granted a major donor a sole-source contract to perform mammograms in Calgary, at ten times the normal cost. Regina is short at least five radiologists,  leading to longer waits for scans, diagnosis, and treatment that saves lives.

“Lyndia has had cancer twice before and needs urgent care. She can’t be stuck on a waitlist,” said Meara Conway, Lyndia’s local MLA. “The longer the Sask. Party is in power, the longer our friends and family will wait for the care they need.”

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