ANNOUNCEMENTS / NEWS

PM Cancer Care Network Supports Development of Oak Valley Health Nurse Practitioner-led Breast Cancer Survivorship Pilot Program

February 27, 2024

Clinicians across Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Oak Valley Health (OVH) will collaborate to develop a Nurse Practitioner (NP)-led Breast Cancer Survivorship Pilot Program to improve access to specialized services for patients and providers in the Markham-Stouffville region. The program will provide patient-centred survivorship care to breast cancer patients who have undergone curative intent treatment and are experiencing significant post-treatment effects or psychological distress related to their cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. Although survivorship care is currently integrated into active follow-up at OVH, the current resources do not meet the needs of those patients, thus calling for a change to the model of care. The positive impact of patient-centred survivorship care on quality of life, functional status and satisfaction with care would be substantial, and is well-documented in the literature. For larger cancer centres, survivorship resources are widely available and well developed. However, successful implementation of a survivorship program in a smaller community cancer centre, where resources are limited, will have implications for those community organizations who have similar gaps.

From left to right: Megan Wilson (OVH), Dr. Leena Hajra (OVH); Dr. Jennifer Jones (PM)

The project will run for 1 year and follow each patient for 6 months. It includes a comprehensive assessment by a NP, the development of a survivorship care plan, dissemination of patient education materials, and resource matching and referrals. By fostering collaborative clinical care, enhancing system efficiencies, optimizing resource allocation, and promoting equitable access, this initiative will significantly contribute to advancing the field of breast cancer survivorship.

Oak Valley Health joins Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network

November 8, 2023

The Cancer Centre at Oak Valley Health’s Markham Stouffville Hospital has joined the Princess Margaret (PM) Cancer Care Network. This partnership marks a significant milestone, positioning Oak Valley Health as the fourth cancer centre in Canada to become part of the PM Cancer Care Network.

Together, they aim to bring expertise and access to a comprehensive range of cancer services, clinical trials, and ground-breaking research to the vibrant Markham, Stouffville, and surrounding communities.

The partnership will also break down barriers to provide seamless access to cutting-edge clinical trials, advanced molecular testing and profiling, and the invaluable opportunity for second opinions at Oak Valley Health.

Dr. Keith Stewart, Vice President of Cancer at UHN and Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, said: “This partnership represents a transformative bond between our institutions, revolutionizing our approach to patient care. We are thrilled to establish collaboration for clinical trials, molecular testing, and knowledge exchange that will benefit the patients of Oak Valley Health.”

From left to right: Dr. Andrea Bezjak, Medical Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network; Elena Pacheco, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Oak Valley Health; Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The Cancer Centre at Oak Valley Health is a growing program with 14 systemic therapy chairs, supported by five medical oncologists, two malignant haematologists and three nurse practitioners, as well as a strong inter-professional team. The clinic has seen an 11-14% per cent annual increase in patient volumes, with growth across most care bundles. Oak Valley Health prides itself on its partnerships with regional and tertiary centers, which supports ongoing academic excellence, quality, and safety for patients and families. Oak Valley Health supports timely access to care for all of our patients close to home and with a family and patient-centered approach.

Newfoundland and Labrador joins Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network

October 12, 2023

Starting this fall, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) Health Services becomes the first provincial cancer program in Canada to join the Princess Margaret (PM) Cancer Care Network.

This collaboration will provide enhanced expertise and improved access to cancer care resources, education and research for the benefit of patients of NL’s Provincial Cancer Care Program and their caregivers.

“This partnership represents a commitment to delivering exceptional cancer care, not only within our centre but also across Canada,” says Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Director of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. “Together, we aspire to push the boundaries of cancer treatment, enhance patient and provider access to education, and elevate the quality of care for all those we serve.

From Left to Right: Dr. Teri Stuckless, Clinical Chief, Provincial Cancer Care Program, NL Health Services; Dr. Andrea Bezjak, Medical Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network

The partnership will facilitate easier access to resources that support complex cases or rare tumours; priority access and support for research; provision of patient, family, and caregiver resources in a variety of languages; and educational materials, resources, and courses for health care providers, patients, families and caregivers.

“We are excited to join the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network so that our staff and physicians have access to resources which will help them continue providing the best possible care to cancer patients in Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Dr. Teri Stuckless, Clinical Chief, Provincial Cancer Care Program, NL Health Services.

“By collaborating with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, we will enhance access to expert consultation and advice, provide opportunities for education and research, and enable co-operation with national and global experts in the field of oncology.”

NL Health Services is the third partner organization to join the PM Cancer Care Network. The other members are Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ont. and Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Ont.

“This is an opportunity to broaden the many already existing collaborations between the oncology teams in Newfoundland and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre,” says Dr. Andrea Bezjak, a radiation oncologist and Medical Director of the PM Cancer Care Network.

NL Health Services’ Provincial Cancer Care Program is responsible for providing services to cancer patients throughout the province, including the operations of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre in St. John’s and the regional cancer care centres in Corner Brook, Grand Falls-Windsor and Gander. The program provides chemotherapy, follow-up care and supportive services in several other sites across the province, as well, including tele-oncology services, which provides care to patients closer to home.

Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network Enhances Collaboration through Innovative Grants

September 29, 2023

Virtual Clinical Trials Navigation to Improve Outcomes for Princess Margaret and Stronach Regional Cancer Centre Advanced Solid Tumor Patients (VIRTUOSO 2.0)

Principal Investigators: Dr. Shaqil Kassam, Southlake Regional Health Centre, and Dr. Lindsay Carlsson, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

This project will expand an existing Princess Margaret (PM) clinical trials nurse navigator-led virtual care pathway for advanced cancer patients, designed to support patient access to trials and build stronger partnerships with community oncologists.

From left to right: VIRTUOSO 2.0 – Dr. Shaqil Kassam (SL), Dr. Lindsay Carlsson (PM); The PM Cancer Education Hub – Dr. Breanna McGilvray (SL), Sarah Ramage Lee (SL), Dr. Janet Papadakos (PM), Tina Papadakos (PM)

There are three objectives: (1) to create a virtual clinical trials pipeline between PM and Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) involving a referral pathway that introduces advanced cancer patients to clinical trials and genomic profiling early in their treatment trajectory; (2) to launch a digital platform for community oncologists and their patients to access personalized support and self-screen for PM and SRCC trials; and (3) to develop a collaborative care model aimed at addressing the complex needs of trial patients. This innovative project will improve the awareness of community oncologists and their patients of trial opportunities at PM and SRCC, enhance patient access to genomic profiling to guide future treatment decisions, and provide a model to improve collaboration and clinical trial operational efficiency across Ontario cancer centres.

Improving Access to Patient Self-Management and Education Resources through the PM Cancer Care Network Education & Learning Hub

Principal Investigators: Dr. Janet Papadakos & Tina Papadakos, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Breanna McGilvray & Sarah Ramage Lee, Southlake Regional Health Centre

This project aims to expand the reach of PM’s Cancer Education infrastructure to increase access to resources at Southlake and future PM Cancer Care Network (CCN) partners. Patient access to cancer information and self-management supports are a priority in Ontario. Self-management engages patients to actively participate in their care and is facilitated through education. The development of a PMCCN and Southlake online infrastructure enables sharing of PM educational assets tailored to Southlake patients’ needs. This will support improved access, self-management, and significant cost savings to partner organizations. A Content Management System will be developed to inventory PM educational assets and coordinate information sharing. A webpage will be developed to access materials, monitor traffic, and evaluate usage. The PM Cancer Campus online learning hub will facilitate Southlake HCPs access to courses that support patient and family engagement in self-management. An evaluation will be developed to assess patient, family, and HCP feedback.

Launching Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Care at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre

June 12, 2023

The Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, led by Dr. Abha Gupta, is a unique program that focuses on unique needs of young adults (40 and under) who are facing the cancer journey a chance to connect, form a community and reduce the stress of going through cancer at a young age. As part of an initiative supported by the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network and under the leadership of Dr. Alisha Kassam, the AYA program will be extended to the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) at Southlake Regional Health Centre. Marlie Smith, Interim Clinical Nurse Specialist with the AYA Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, will be collaborating with SRCC healthcare providers and staff, and forming community partnerships to build local AYA capacity. She will be offering individual virtual consultations to create an open and safe space for patients to discuss their needs and access resources related to onco-fertility, mental health and survivorship.

Marlie Smith, Interim Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program

Marlie Smith, Interim Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program

Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network Welcomes Grand River Hospital as a New Partner

April 24, 2023

The Grand River Regional Cancer Program (Grand River) is the second cancer program in the province to join the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network, to share world-class expertise and bring enhanced access to cancer services, clinical trials, and research to the residents of Waterloo Wellington.
“This partnership will strengthen ties between our two centres and provide streamlined access to clinical trials, advanced molecular testing, and other innovations for patients being seen at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre,” says Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Director of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
Under an agreement, PM and Grand River will work together to leverage both centres’ respective strengths, resources and expertise; and continue to improve cancer care and access for Ontarians.”We’re thrilled to join the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network and continue the great work happening locally,” says Dr. Gregory Knight, Grand River Regional Cancer Centre Chief of Oncology. ” This partnership will enable care teams across participating organizations to collaborate, share information and resources and create new opportunities for care and research for the patients we serve.”

From left to right: Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Dr. Jane Martin, VP Clinical and Diagnostic Services, RVP, Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program

From left to right: Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Dr. Jane Martin, VP Clinical and Diagnostic Services, RVP, Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program

“The aim of the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network is to facilitate access to knowledge, expertise, and innovations available in our centre, while supporting collaborative care and existing relationships and initiatives,” says Dr. Andrea Bezjak, Medical Director of the PM Cancer Care Network.As regional cancer centres, Grand River and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM) are part of a provincial network working in tandem with Ontario Health. This new partnership will not replace existing provincial networks, and will continue to support advancement of the Ontario Cancer Plan.The PM Cancer Care Network offers unique benefits to healthcare providers by enhancing access to educational materials, resources, customized courses and workshops, as well as second opinions and e-consults; access to tumour boards for complex cases; jointly hosted virtual care consults, and access to Adolescent and Young Adult Resources through connecting with patient support and advocacy groups.
“This partnership demonstrates our strategic commitment to relentlessly pursue strong partnerships and innovative solutions to deliver exceptional health care experiences for patients,” says Jane Martin, VP, Clinical and Diagnostic Services at Grand River Hospital and RVP Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program.
Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) at Southlake Regional Health Centre was the first member to join the PM Cancer Care Network in June 2022.

Learn more about the Network.

Growing Beyond our Walls – the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network

March 9, 2023

On March 9, 2023, the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network team presented to colleagues from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Grand River Hospital, and Eastern Health through PM Grand Rounds. The team discussed the rationale behind creating the Network, offerings to partners, and benefits to patients, caregivers and healthcare providers