Every country that has a national cancer control strategy uses a somewhat different approach, says Heather Bryant, MD, PhD and VP of Cancer Control at the Partnership. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but taking a systems approach is the fastest and most cost-effective way to achieve the Partnership’s goals, she says.
It also puts Canada squarely among the relatively few countries that are attempting a comprehensive program for cancer control, she adds.
Great Britain’s cancer control program in its National Health Service is widely considered to be a benchmark. Because cancer care is largely funded through the NHS, its cancer control program includes many direct financial levers for change.
“In Canada, our process for delivering care through the provinces is fundamental to our understanding of health-care. However, we are focused on identifying elements of cancer control that are already proven to work well. With our partners we are developing strategies for expanding or enhancing these elements to achieve measurable change based on evidence.”
At the World Cancer Congress in Geneva in August 2008, attendees were impressed that the Partnership got off the ground so quickly and has such a comprehensive strategy already in place, says Jessica Hill, CEO of the Partnership.
“That is due to the dedicated work done by all those who volunteered their time in developing the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, creating the framework that we have now.
“Other countries are saying that our model is valuable precisely because it’s about doing more with what you have, and bringing together resources to be more effective. A population perspective is also key to each country’s strategy for cancer control and is central to what we are doing in Canada,” she says.
In just 18 months some Partnership initiatives are already making a mark internationally, says John Potter, MD, PhD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., (where he was formerly Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Division), and current Chair of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project cohort study Governance Committee.
“The Partnership is making a very important contribution to the world scene. The fact that it has the vision to support the cohort study – which is something we have really needed – speaks very highly for it.”
Systems and evidence-based approach to cancer control
The Partnership uses a systems approach to:
- help prevent cancer
- enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer
- lessen the likelihood of dying from cancer
- increase the efficiency of cancer control in Canada
To achieve these goals, the Partnership focuses on initiatives that are achievable, measurable, evidence-driven and pan-Canadian in scope.