The 2019 Ca-PRI Conference provided opportunities to learn about the latest in primary care cancer research

Jul 15, 2019

DFCM Conference

The University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) hosted the 12th Annual Cancer and Primary Care Research International Network (Ca-PRI) Conference on May 21-23, 2019. Over the course of two days at Hart House on the University of Toronto campus, participants attended workshops, oral presentations, and poster presentations from over 140 delegates representing 15 different countries. Ca-PRI is a multidisciplinary network for researchers in primary cancer care and related areas. The goal of Ca-PRI is to promote greater international collaboration in primary care and cancer research. Ca-PRI welcomes researchers from all disciplines.

The event started with a splash at Ripley’s Aquarium where attendees participated in a ‘Shark Tank’. Delegates were asked to submit an elevator-style pitch on an innovation or highlight why their study/research is important. Attendees had the opportunity to mix and mingle among the intriguing aquatic creatures, including sharks, while voting on their favourite Shark Tank pitch. In the end, Dr. William Cherniak, presenting on Bridge to Health’s cervical cancer screening and treatment to the women of rural East Africa, was voted as the crowd’s favourite pitch. Other pitches included: Dr. Dorte Gilså Hansen showing the importance of video communication when a patient undergoes chemotherapy, Dr. Michelle Greiver discussing how ethical AI can be incorporated into cancer pathways, and Dr. Kathy Kastner demonstrating her low-tech and easily translatable tool to determine what matters to patients and caregivers.

This year’s conference theme, “Cancer Inequities at Home and Abroad in the Age of Migration: Roles for Primary Care,” was addressed by the keynote speakers. Dr. Danielle Martin, an Associate Professor at DFCM and Vice-President, Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women's College Hospital, focused on translating research into common primary cancer care practice at home during her presentation, “From Discovery to Doing: System Solutions for Cancer and Beyond”. Through her talk, Ms. Alethea Kewayosh, Director of Aboriginal Cancer Control for Cancer Care Ontario, taught conference attendees about various First Nations, Indigenous, and Metis perspectives on primary and cancer care, and what gaps still need to be addressed. Finally, Dr. Ophira Ginsburg, Director of the High-Risk Cancer Program at Perlmutter Cancer Center, discussed how primary and cancer care need to evolve on a global scale in her address.

Another Ca-PRI highlight was the lively Oxford-style debate featuring  Team UK (Dr. David Weller and Dr. Rosalind Adam) facing off against Team Canada (Dr. Jeff Sisler and Dr. Tunji Fatoye) on the topic: “be it resolved that from the perspective of family physicians/general practitioners, management of patients during cancer treatment and survivorship is just as important as management of patients with high prevalence conditions such as mental health issues and heart disease.” While Team UK won the battle in favour of the motion, Team Canada fought hard and changed the minds of many conference attendees.

Conference-goers also participated in the Interactive Poster Session prior to the Conference Dinner. Forty posters from Canada, the United States, England, India, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland were on display ranging in topics pertaining to cancer screening, early diagnosis, survivorship, diagnostic delay, treatment, primary care, palliative care, and prognosis.

Next year’s conference will be taking place in Oxford, 2020 - we hope to see you there!