Effective screening and earlier diagnosis are critical in reducing the incidence and impact of cancer. Cancer Care Ontario’s Department of Prevention and Screening is responsible for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the programs and initiatives aimed at improving cancer screening and detection in the province.
The Department’s activities are guided by the goals and strategies set out in the Ontario Cancer Plan and the Cancer 2020 Action Plan. Both plans call for action in key areas including cancer screening, diet and nutrition, healthy body weight, physical activity, healthy lifestyles, and environmental and occupational carcinogens.
Cancer Care Ontario’s prevention efforts are concentrated in three primary areas: evidence-informed practice, capacity building in the regions, and knowledge exchange. We are currently focusing on the most well established cancer risk factors, such as smoking, obesity, diet, and physical inactivity. At the same time we are working to develop a better understanding of how occupational and environmental carcinogens cause cancer, with the goal of reducing Ontarians’ exposure to cancer-causing substances in the workplace and their general surroundings.
Cancer Care Ontario is involved in the administration of province-wide screening programs for three types of cancer: breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. Substantial evidence has shown that screening can reduce death rates from these three cancer types. We are currently working toward an integrated screening program for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer to make it easier for physicians to offer cancer screening and for patients to participate and make screening part of their health care regimen. By creating an organized screening program for these three cancer types, we hope to improve screening rates.
Key councils and networks
To advance our goals in prevention and screening, the Department of Prevention and Screening works closely with a number of key councils and networks.
Regional Cancer Prevention and Screening Coordinating Committees
These committees act as a liaison between Regional Cancer Programs, regional cancer prevention and screening networks, and the Department of Prevention and Screening. They provide a forum for sharing best practices and engaging in knowledge exchange and capacity building activities. Committee members include stakeholders from public health, regional cancer centres, and Cancer Care Ontario.
Joint Ontario Aboriginal Cancer Committee
Aboriginal communities face unique challenges in cancer prevention and control. The Joint Ontario Aboriginal Cancer Committee was established to provide advice and guidance to Cancer Care Ontario as we work to improve the delivery of health care services to the province’s aboriginal population and develop strategies to reduce the incidence of cancer among this group.