Breast Cancer Journey

In 2012, Canadian Cancer Society reports 22,900 new cases of breast cancer (22,700 female and 200 male) .Unfortunately, there will be 5200 deaths (5100 females and 55 men). Breast cancer is the commonest cancer diagnosis in women (26%).

Due to screening mammograms and better systemic treatments of breast cancer, mortality of breast cancer has been decreasing since 1998. Breast cancer forms the largest group of cancer survivors (three million cases). Cancer treatments are multi -disciplinary, complex, and typically conducted in ‘silos’. Cancer treatments have short- and long-term toxicity and some patients may have other co-morbidities. As the number of cancer survivors increases, one of the recommendations by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is to improve communication and coordination of care between the oncology team and primary care physician, by providing care plans to patients. We have developed a multifaceted care plan to improve the sharing of information and coordination with you, the primary care physicians. One of the emerging themes from a pilot study was that “one size does not fit all”breast cancer survivors. Patients suggested that information should be given according to their individual needs at each phase of their breast cancer journey.

We have refined the tool and developed a Personalized Multifaceted Care Plan (PMCP) which will be assessed in a randomized fashion to see if it improves quality of life and care for breast cancer patients, as well as improve delivery of care by primary care physicians. As the number cancer survivors increases, the model of cancer care has to change from ‘silos’ in the oncology clinics, to involve primary care physicians.

To care for patients, we have to understand their needs at different phases of their breast cancer journey. The three main phases include diagnosis, during treatment, and following treatment.