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Shaping the discussion on cancer care in Canada

  

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) held its first annual conference in April, titled “Innovative Approaches to Optimal Cancer Care in Canada.” CPAC is a federally funded organization that works  with governments, cancer agencies and national health organizations to improve cancer control across the country. 

“The CPAC conference was an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues across Canada, discuss common challenges in the delivery of care and identify possible solutions,” explains RCN clinical lead, Dr. Wilson Miller. “It was an opportunity to showcase the RCN's efforts through poster and oral presentations by RCN staff and two medical residents. For these future leaders especially, the conference brought to light another aspect of medicine -- quality management and innovative practices -- which is not typically taught in medical school.” 

Among the national leaders invited to present were two of the RCN’s own Executive Committee members: Dr. Armen Aprikian, chief of oncology at the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) discussed the Quebec experience implementing recommendations to improve quality of care for bladder cancer. And Dr. Ari Meguerditchian, a surgical oncologist at the MUHC took part in a panel discussion examining the top things that could be done to immediately improve cancer care in Canada, including expanding diagnostic assessment programs; sharing existing data more effectively; implementing patient portals extensively; and integrating palliative care earlier.

The RCN also had 5 scientific posters presented during open sessions for discussion with other conference-goers. Topics ranged from the successes and challenges of coordinating patient access to clinical trials across the three McGill-affiliated teaching hospitals to redeveloping the McGill adolescent and young adult model of care to enhance quality of life, as well as evaluating patient satisfaction survey results to define new improvement initiatives. 

Two RCN Disease Site Groups presented posters on recent findings in their teams. The Head & Neck group evaluated the multidisciplinary approach to treatment planning for head & neck cancer patients, while the Gastrointestinal group looked at improving adherence to recommended treatment guidelines for stage III colon cancer patients.

“The conference allowed the RCN to help shape discussions on important challenges that should be prioritized across Canada in the next few years,” concluded Dr. Miller, “such as how to improve cancer care for patients through system-level change, and how to accelerate the adoption of the most promising advances in cancer care today to benefit patients.”