Research From the CanIMPACT Team Highlighted in October Canadian Family Physician
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, the prevailing assumption is that they leave their family physician and enter into the “black box” of cancer treatment centres. As Dr. Eva Grunfeld writes in her commentary for this month’s Canadian Family Physician, however, this isn’t true: many family physicians are willing and do play a greater role in the ongoing care of patients with breast cancer. While patients may have received their main treatment at a cancer centre almost exclusively in the past, research has shown that primary care is a “safe and acceptable alternative to cancer centre follow-up.”
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness month and to recognize the role family physicians play in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Canadian Family Physician (CFP) is dedicating their issue to the theme of breast cancer and the work of the Canadian Team to Improve Community-Based Cancer Care along the Continuum (CanIMPACT) research team. Led by Dr. Eva Grunfeld, Giblon Professor and Vice-Chair (Research) at DFCM, CanIMPACT is a multidisciplinary pan-Canadian group of primary care physicians, nurses, oncology specialist physicians, researchers, knowledge users, and patients who are working to enhance the capacity of primary care to provide care to cancer patients and improve integration between primary care providers and cancer specialists.
The CanIMPACT team includes many DFCM faculty who have contributed to the articles published in the October issue of CFP issue. For instance, Drs. Heisey and Carroll co-author a practical guide for clinicians to assist in identifying and managing women with a family history of breast cancer. Drs. Carroll, O’Brien, Webster and Grunfeld are co-authors on an article on patient experiences with the cancer care continuum (lead author Dr. J. Easley). The findings show the main factor impacting patients’ experience is good communication with their health care professionals, which contributes to a sense of well-coordinated care.
Dr. Carroll is also the lead author (with DFCM co-authors O’Brien, Heisey and Grunfeld) on a study of family physicians’ experiences with and perceptions of personalized genomic medicine in relation to cancer. Drs. Lofters, Moineddin and Grunfeld are co-authors (lead author Dr. L. Jiang) on a multi-province study using administrative health databases to examine family physician visits by breast cancer patients.
Dr. Grunfeld is please about the attention to the issue. “It has been inspiring to work with my DFCM colleagues and collaborators from across Canada and beyond in bringing this phase of the research to fruition,” she notes. “It is especially exciting to have the research published in a focused issue of CFP in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month.”
CanIMPACT is now in the beginning of phase 2 of its research, which will test an intervention developed in phase 1 to improve the integration of cancer care.