Women in Cancer

2016 December Newsletter


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Journal Article Recommendations

Canadian Cancer Programs Are Struggling to Invest in Development of Future Leaders: Results of a Pan-Canadian Survey

Author: Nadir Khan, Lena Ghatage, Peter S. Craighead

Pubmed. PMID:27808025


Cancer agencies within Canada operate with a variety of leadership models, assuming that future leaders are identified, developed and supported by institutions other than their own. A literature review, comprehensive survey and structured interviews were conducted to illuminate the perceptions of leadership in Canadian cancer centres. The major finding from the study is the significant gap between the competencies that leaders acknowledge as being important and the lack of development programs for future and current leaders. The study also showed there is agreement on preferred leadership models and the personal traits that identify future leaders worthy of development. Given the current struggles of leadership, the authors suggest that cancer agencies need to strategize how to advance succession planning and leadership development frameworks.

Practice and Impact of Multidisciplinary Tumour Boards on Patient Management: A Prospective Study

Author: Raghid N. Charara, Firas Y. Kreidieh, Rania A. Farhat, Karine A. Al-Feghali, Katia E. Khoury, Ali Haydar, Lara Nassar, Ghina Berjawi, Ali Shamseddine, Nagi S. El Saghir

Journal of Global Oncology. October 2016. DOI: 10.1200/JGO.2016.004960.


Purpose: Multidisciplinary tumor boards (MTBs) have become commonplace. The use, attendance, and function of MTBs need continued assessment and improvement.

Methods: We prospectively recorded and assessed all cases presented at MTBs between October 2013 and December 2014. Data were collected before and during each MTB. Data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows version 23 (SPSS, Chicago, IL).

Results: Five hundred three cases were presented: 234 cases (46%) at GI cancer MTBs, 149 cases (29.6%) at breast cancer MTBs, 69 cases (13.7%) at thoracic/head and neck cancer MTBs, and 51 cases (10.7%) at neuro-oncology MTBs. A total of 86.7% of MTB cases were presented to make plans for management. Plans for upfront management were made in 67% of the breast cancer cases, 63% of GI cases, 59% of thoracic/head and neck cases, and 49% of neuro-oncology cases. Three hundred ninety-four cases (78.3%) were presented by medical oncologists, whereas only 74 cases (14.7%) were presented by surgeons, and 10 cases (2%) were presented by radiation oncologists. The majority of MTBs, with the exception of the neurosurgery MTBs, were led by medical oncologists. Surgeons presented the least number of cases but attended the most, and their contributions to discussions and decision making were essential.

Conclusion: MTBs enhance the multidisciplinary management of patients with cancer. Upfront multidisciplinary decision making should be considered as an indicator of benefit from MTBs, in addition to changes in management plans made at MTBs. Increasing the contributions of surgeons to MTBs should include bringing more of their own cases for discussion.


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Dr. Iza Ojanop

Hint: This oncologist completed his fellowship at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. He is now practicing in Victoria at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Center. His areas of focus include breast, genitourinary and head and neck cancers.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Priority Setting Partnership

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Canadian women and women worldwide. Advances in treatment are being made, such that more women are living longer with stage IV disease. Traditionally, clinical trials and research studies are based on questions determined by pharmaceutical companies and researchers who, or may not have direct input from patients and caregivers most affected by disease.

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