Cancer patients 'should have access to health records'

Cancer patients could benefit from having access to their health records, according to the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada (CACC).

The organisation's Report Card on Cancer in Canada claims patients of gynaecological cancers should be able to access their electronic records to help to ensure "optimal care".

A survey of oncology clinics by the CACC found that remote treatment centres, located over two hours from a regional cancer centre, do not have electronic health records available to aid with the treatment of cancer sufferers.

The group claims patients "may not be getting the full benefits of care in terms of efficacy, safety and efficiencies received by patients in direct proximity to regional cancer centres".

Dr William Hryniuk, medical oncologist and past-chair of CACC, said people should be able to access their health records from anywhere in the world, in a similar way to their financial records.

"If they could, their disease management would greatly improve and many system changes would quickly follow," he added.

Recent research by the US National Cancer Institute found that one million cancer survivors in North America are going without necessary medical care due to the costs attached to it.