Alberta's Cancer Plan highlights

Changing Our Future: Alberta’s Cancer Plan to 2030

The plan calls for a provincial approach to cancer management so all parts of the system can work together for the best outcomes for patients and families. The plan aims to reduce wait times for treatment, create seamless quality care, and improve the use of leading-edge research and clinical trials.

Highlights

Prevention

Changing Our Future encourages healthy lifestyles such as healthy eating and being active, using less tobacco and alcohol, reducing sun exposure and artificial tanning, and immunizing against HPV. Alberta-specific recommendations will decrease the number of infections that can lead to cancer. See Page 20 of the plan PDF icon

Screening

Earlier detection increases cancer survival. The plan focuses screening on people who may have a higher inherited cancer risk and people who may not have a family doctor. Those include recent immigrants; minority groups such as First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples; and people living in poverty who may not know about screening programs. See Page 24 of the plan PDF icon

Treatment

Under the plan, new integrated care models for all major cancers will make sure all health professionals have the right information. Health care providers will have more support to deliver cancer treatments at home or closer to home. Screening, diagnostic and treatment services will be better coordinated for seamless care. See Page 26 of the plan PDF icon

Research

Alberta already is above the national average for the number of patients enrolled in clinical trials. Changing Our Future will better integrate research and clinical practice to implement new knowledge. Alberta will work to attract cancer researchers and increase researchers’ capacity to transfer knowledge. See Page 34 of the plan PDF icon

CancerControl Alberta

CancerControl Alberta is a new division within Alberta Health Services (AHS). It will bring cancer facilities, programs and services under one umbrella, to maximize the return from Alberta’s investments in cancer care and prevention.

Stakeholders from wellness, health care and research will be better connected to create a comprehensive, coordinated and seamless system. See Page 16 of the plan PDF icon

Primary health care

Patients will receive more cancer care and support closer to home through Family Care Clinics and Primary Care Networks, with less travel to major cancer centres.

Primary care givers will provide more prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. To do that, they will have follow-up guidelines, strong relationships with cancer specialists through Telehealth, and links to research and psychosocial oncology. See Page 26 of the plan PDF icon

Facilities

Alberta is developing a “radiation corridor” from Lethbridge to Grande Prairie so 9 in 10 Albertans will have access to radiation therapy within 100 km of home.

In the south, the Jack Ady Cancer Centre opened in Lethbridge in 2010. A new billion-dollar cancer centre in Calgary will serve outpatients, inpatients, and cancer research. The Red Deer Cancer Centre is under development.

In the north, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton will anchor the radiation corridor and is making upgrades worth $67 million. A portion of the funding is being used to move the Edmonton Radiopharmaceutical Centre out of the Cross Cancer Institute to allow for further renovations, which are in the planning phase. A new cancer centre for Grande Prairie will be part of its new regional hospital. See Page 41 of the plan PDF icon

Workforce

Under Changing Our Future, teams of specialists, primary care providers, pharmacists, nurses, radiation therapists and others will make better use of our workforce and manage the growing demand for specialists. Teamwork also will better meet the needs of more survivors with treatment and support for side effects and other impacts on health, such as chronic pain and depression. See Page 38 of the plan PDF icon

Ten strategies to transform coordination of care

There are 10 strategies under Changing our Future.

  1. Create a comprehensive and coordinated system of prevention, screening, care and research involving stakeholders from across the wellness, health care and research spectrums.
  2. Support, engage and integrate primary health care providers in the delivery of cancer services in the home or community and to underserved populations.
  3. Reduce the risk of cancer through coordinated and integrated prevention strategies.
  4. Find cancer early by using robust data and appropriate screening activities.
  5. Better integrate care to deliver cancer diagnosis, treatment and support services to Albertans.
  6. Provide cancer patients, survivors, their families and caregivers with the best possible psychosocial, physical and supportive care throughout their cancer journey.
  7. Focus Alberta’s research efforts to better support breakthroughs in cancer prevention, cancer care and policy and attract and retain world class researchers and funding.
  8. Develop a strong cancer workforce to meet the needs of cancer patients and their families.
  9. Manage health system infrastructure, including information, equipment, knowledge and technology to effectively support the delivery of best practices in cancer care to Albertans.
  10. Develop a robust cancer surveillance and monitoring system.