Ontario woman with cancer has surgery postponed indefinitely

A 30-year-old Ontario woman diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer has had her surgery postponed indefinitely, saying it may be too late to save her if the procedure continues to be pushed back.

Woodbridge, Ont. the woman Cassandra Di Maria was diagnosed with cancer in 2020 and has since undergone 17 rounds of chemotherapy.

“Now I’m waiting for my next major surgery,” Di Maria told CTV News Toronto on Thursday. “I have no idea when this surgery will happen and I’m stuck.”

In order to undergo the operation, doctors told Di Maria in late October that she had to stop the chemotherapy for a few weeks so that her body would be strong enough to cope with the procedure, which was originally planned for December.

She said in December that she received a message that the operation was postponed until January, and later she was told that the date had also been canceled.

In an email seen by CTV News Toronto, a representative from Mount Sinai Hospital told Di Maria that her surgery was canceled due to “the situation with COVID-19” and that “everything is being canceled at this time.”

Meanwhile, Di Maria has not received chemotherapy if an operation date becomes available.

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“I’m frustrated because I’m worried about growth during the period I’ve been free of chemo,” she said. “The chances are very high that the cancer will spread further. I’m a little stuck with what to do, unfortunately.”

She said she understands the pressure the health care system is facing, but feels her urgent needs are not being met and she does not understand why her cancer surgery is not taking place.

“COVID-19 patients are getting all that care right now and we’re on the back burner, which is awful,” she said. “I would consider my surgery to be urgent, so I’m not really sure why it’s being affected.”

Cassandra Di Maria

The Government of Ontario announced earlier this month that non-emergency operations would be postponed to keep hospital beds free during the Omicron COVID-19 wave.

Asked about Di Maria’s situation, a health ministry spokesman said “we know this difficult decision can be worrying for people in need of hospital treatment.”

“Surgical resources are managed independently at each hospital in Ontario. As such, each institution must balance the needs of its acutely scheduled surgical patients, emergency surgical patients and the needs of intensive care patients in the hospital, while balancing the need to limit injuries. To patients by considering which surgeries and procedures that should not be delayed, such as bypass surgery and most cancer surgeries. “

CTV News Toronto has contacted Mount Sinai Hospital for information on Di Maria’s situation and is awaiting a response.

Meanwhile, Di Maria, who was recently engaged, said she wants to get past this hurdle so she can look forward to other things in life, like planning her wedding set for April 2023.

“It’s been hard and scary,” she said. “I’m not the only person experiencing this. There are a lot of people and something needs to change. This whole situation needs to be re-evaluated.”

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