Since 2012, the Cancer SCN has worked with patients, families, operational leaders and other health and community partners to address care gaps and develop provincial standards and clinical best practices that improve patient safety, care and outcomes.
The CSCN has also supported implementation of quality improvements and initiatives to address capacity pressures, access, and quality of cancer care in Alberta. Success stories and outcomes are highlighted below.
In 2016, the Cancer SCN established the Provincial Breast Health Initiative in partnership with the Surgery SCN and Cancer Control Alberta. The initiative brought together patients, providers, and administrators to achieve provincial consensus on an end-to-end breast health pathway. Using data, best practices and input from patients and families, the team designed and implemented improvements to address priority gaps in care.
The work has several components, which focus on improving health outcomes, patient experience, access to information, screening and coordinated, and earlier diagnosis. Learn more
This work received a President’s Excellence Award for Quality Improvement. The award recognizes teams who made evidence-based quality improvements that improved health outcomes for patients and their families and/or clinical effectiveness.
Approximately 10-15% of cancer is due to an inherited genetic change (mutation) in a cancer gene. For breast and ovarian cancer, gene mutations are most commonly found in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Identifying BRCA gene mutations early can impact treatment decisions, indicate risk for other cancers, and inform risks for cancer among family members.
In collaboration with Hereditary Cancer Clinic (HCC) and Cancer Care Alberta, the Cancer SCN implemented a new process―called mainstreaming―to increase access to genetic testing for ovarian and breast cancer.
This work involved co-designing a provincial clinical care pathway for HNC patients in collaboration with Head and Neck surgical teams in Edmonton and Calgary and the Cancer, Critical Care and Surgery SCNs. The care pathway incorporated best practices and aimed to reduce inappropriate variation and maximize value from existing capacity.
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This work focused on patients with unmet palliative care needs who present to emergency. The Cancer SCN collaborated with the Emergency Medicine Research Group and Alberta emergency departments (EDs) to determine the frequency of their hospital visits, investigate ED provider and patient perspectives on unmet end-of-life (EOL) care needs, and conduct systematic literature reviews on the effectiveness of ED-based palliative care screening tools and interventions.
With funding from an Alberta Innovates Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Health System (PRIHS) grant, the Cancer SCN focused on multidisciplinary team care for stage II and III rectal cancer patients. The team developed and implemented a rectal cancer clinical care pathway with an aim to reduce unwarranted variation, optimize care and improve outcomes, including recurrence rates.
In 2020, the Cancer SCN co-developed a Treatment Prioritization Framework with provincial tumor teams and supportive care leads as part of its pandemic contingency planning. The framework guides the delivery of CCA services (systemic therapy, radiation therapy and supportive care) in the event of staff shortages during a pandemic to ensure standard of care is maintained. The framework does not include cancer services outside CCA such as surgery.
A collaboration between the Cancer SCN, Dr. Nimira Alimohamed (an oncologist with the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary), Susan Nguyen (a Patient and Community Engagement Researcher [PaCER] and two-time bladder cancer survivor), and Marlyn Gill (a fellow PaCER researcher familiar with cancer and chronic disease). Together they set out to understand the experiences of people with bladder cancer in Alberta. Final report (2018)