The Saskatchewan Cancer Program: A historical examination of government in providing health care
The problem of cancer has long been an issue of vital importance to Canadians. In an attempt to arrest the spread of cancer, radiation therapy emerged early in the 20th century as an effective tool in combating the disease and prompted a new hope that a cure for cancer would be realized in the not too distant future. However, due to the expense of obtaining naturally occurring radioactive elements, radiation therapy was limited to a select group of patients. The onset of the Great Depression further exposed the inability of patients to pay for treatment and led the Saskatchewan government to establish a cancer program that provided consultative, diagnostic and radiation therapy at a cost largely incurred by the state. This thesis deals with the causative factors for the government to expand into the cancer care arena more than thirty years before the adoption of publicly funded universal health care. It argues that the fuel to provide cancer care was as much a desire to benefit the sick as it was to building a recognizable identity for the province. Legislators in Saskatchewan believed that they had a responsibility to mold an image for the province and ensuring that patients had access to increasingly specialized and technological treatments for cancer was a means through which the state could forge an identity as a progressive society dedicated to the health and well-being of its citizens.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeHorwitz, Simonne; Waiser, Bill; McGrane, Dave
Copyright DateAugust 2011