There have been some social media posts suggesting that emergent or urgent cancer surgeries have been delayed as a result of COVID-19 – this is not the case.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) continues to perform all emergent or urgent cancer surgeries. As with all previous waves of the pandemic, AHS is having to postpone a small number of less-urgent cancer surgeries.
These may include low-risk diagnostic cancer surgeries where cancer is suspected not confirmed.
These decisions are clinically based, using a cancer triaging document drafted and approved by physicians and clinical cancer leadership.
As is the case with all surgeries, clinicians triage cases based on priority. The most serious and urgent cases are performed first. This is standard in every healthcare system in the country.
We acknowledge that postponing any surgery is upsetting to impacted patients, their families, and their loved ones.
Surgical postponements are required to ensure we have the ICU capacity to care for those who need critical, intensive care.
Follow-up care on any suspected or confirmed cancer is taking place, as are all urgent surgeries and treatments scheduled to treat cancer.
AHS is working very closely with oncologists and cancer teams to evaluate every patient’s unique situation and treatment plan to make certain that all patients receive the care they need, when they need it.