Transforming lung cancer diagnosis


    – Special to The Ottawa Construction News

    In Dr. Michael Fung-Kee-Fung’s PowerPoint presentation about Cancer Transformation, the “before” diagram showing the process for lung cancer patients looks like a rugby scrum, with arrows crisscrossing every which way between bubbles and boxes.

    The “after” diagram is streamlined – more like a synchronized swim team.

    In January 2014, the timeline for cases from referral to first treatment for the average patient with a suspicion of lung cancer was 92 days – almost three months; too long for patients whose conditions are often complex and challenging during that period. Dr. Michael Fung-Kee-Fung led a multidisciplinary team to map out how it could be transformed from ‘rugby’ to ‘synchronized swimming’ and sped up.

    The new, dynamic system has patients moving through a continuum of care, not just at The Ottawa Hospital but across the region. As a result, the average wait time for lung cancer patients from referral to treatment has improved 48 per cent. The whole process now takes 48 days, as opposed to 92, making Ottawa’s wait time for lung diagnostic assessment the best in the province.

    This research, and many other cancer related projects, would not be possible without community support and dollars generated through THE RIDE – The Ottawa Hospital’s cycling fundraiser in support of cancer research.

    In the past six years, participants in this one-day event have raised more than $10 million for cancer research in our community. And in fact, the Ottawa construction industry is in large part responsible for the success of this fundraising event.

    For Dr. Fung-Kee-Fung, a former RIDE team captain and a leader in this research, it’s really all about making the patient experience better.

    Today, lung cancer patients are streamed, with fewer hops between steps to diagnosis, and they receive information more quickly. Wait times are shorter, patients see the most appropriate physician faster and tests are ordered more efficiently.

    “The purpose of cancer transformation is to radically re-orientate our cancer care delivery to enhance the patient’s experience while integrating research, discovery and innovation, such that our patients will have access to the best treatments and care,” said Dr. Fung-Kee-Fung.

    You can help continue to transform cancer care for patients at The Ottawa Hospital by taking part in THE RIDE on Sept. 11, 2016. Join one of the many existing teams or start your own. Either way, you’ll be powering the revolution in cancer research and making a difference in the fight against cancer.

    For more information, visit

    Ingrid Gingras is The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s manager, communications and marketing.


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