Media Releases

Oncology for pharmacists: A person-centred approach to caring for people living with cancer

March 8, 2016

Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, in collaboration with Cancer Care Ontario, Launches New Oncology Program for Pharmacists

Toron­to, ON – The Office of Con­tin­u­ous Pro­fes­sion­al Devel­op­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Can­cer Care Ontario, is intro­duc­ing the first com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram in the province for phar­ma­cists focused on car­ing for peo­ple liv­ing with can­cer. The new pro­gram is designed to help prac­tic­ing phar­ma­cists acquire knowl­edge, devel­op skills, and become more com­fort­able in car­ing for can­cer patients.

A recent Cana­di­an study revealed that only 13 per cent of phar­ma­cists in com­mu­ni­ty set­tings feel ade­quate­ly pre­pared to pro­vide care to their can­cer patients. As a result, phar­ma­cists are seek­ing out addi­tion­al train­ing in this area, includ­ing the lat­est oncol­o­gy infor­ma­tion, tools, and best prac­tices to deliv­er qual­i­ty care, ensure patient safe­ty, and enhance health out­comes.

“With the increase in peo­ple liv­ing with can­cer and the advances in avail­able can­cer treat­ments, this pro­gram will offer phar­ma­cists crit­i­cal knowl­edge that is increas­ing­ly becom­ing part of their day-to-day prac­tice,” says Dr. Kathy Vu, Clin­i­cal Lead of Sys­temic and Safe­ty Treat­ment Ini­tia­tives at Can­cer Care Ontario and Aca­d­e­m­ic Direc­tor, Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists Pro­gram, Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy.

Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists: A Per­son-Cen­tred Approach to Car­ing for Peo­ple Liv­ing with Can­cer is intend­ed to help phar­ma­cists from all prac­tice set­tings learn the lat­est infor­ma­tion and best prac­tices in can­cer treat­ment to deliv­er bet­ter care and improve out­comes for can­cer patients. Devel­oped by lead­ing experts in the field, this inten­sive pro­gram com­bines in-class and online learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to pro­vide par­tic­i­pants with a wide range of prac­ti­cal tips and tools to offer safe and high-qual­i­ty care to patients under­go­ing can­cer treat­ment.

The first com­po­nent of this pro­gram, Essen­tials of Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists, will be offered in April 2016 as an online course. Ide­al for com­mu­ni­ty phar­ma­cists and prac­ti­tion­ers new to oncol­o­gy, this foun­da­tion­al course forms the basis for the rest of the Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists pro­gram. This course intro­duces par­tic­i­pants to key top­ics that are required to care for can­cer patients in a holis­tic man­ner, includ­ing the phar­ma­col­o­gy and safe han­dling of anti­cancer agents, man­age­ment of com­mon tox­i­c­i­ties, chemother­a­py pre­scrip­tion review, basics of can­cer pain man­age­ment, adher­ence, com­mon drug inter­ac­tions, com­ple­men­tary med­i­cine patients may be explor­ing, pal­lia­tive care, and an intro­duc­tion to chemother­a­py use, among many oth­ers. Pre­sent­ed as a self-paced series of online learn­ing mod­ules, the Essen­tials of Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists pro­gram also includes the oppor­tu­ni­ty to par­tic­i­pate in a dis­cus­sion board with oth­ers in the pro­gram, allow­ing par­tic­i­pants to build a net­work of peers and resources to aid in their prac­tice.

At the end of the course, par­tic­i­pants will receive a cer­tifi­cate of com­ple­tion and will be ready to con­tin­ue their edu­ca­tion­al jour­ney in oncol­o­gy.

The sec­ond com­po­nent of this pro­gram, Advanced Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists, con­sists of two parts and builds on the skills and knowl­edge acquired in the Essen­tials of Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists pro­gram, pro­vid­ing an in-depth approach to car­ing for patients with can­cer. This mod­ule is ide­al for grad­u­ates of the Essen­tials mod­ule and phar­ma­cists who have some expe­ri­ence in pro­vid­ing care to can­cer patients and have an inter­est in advanc­ing their can­cer care knowl­edge.

Deliv­ered online, the top­ics cov­ered in Part 1 of Advanced Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists include advanced can­cer pain man­age­ment, febrile neu­trope­nia, chemother­a­py order review, onco­log­ic emer­gen­cies, advanced com­ple­men­tary med­i­cines, patient teach­ing and edu­ca­tion, chemother­a­py and tar­get­ed ther­a­pies, and car­ing for a can­cer patient with comor­bidi­ties.

Top­ics cov­ered in Part 2 of Advanced Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists, which is deliv­ered as an in-per­son work­shop, include the lat­est infor­ma­tion on spe­cif­ic can­cers such as breast can­cer, gas­troin­testi­nal can­cer, prostate and blad­der can­cers, ovar­i­an can­cer, lung can­cer, lym­phomas, and mul­ti­ple myelo­ma. Using a com­bi­na­tion of didac­tic and case-based dis­cus­sions, this pro­gram will allow par­tic­i­pants to con­sol­i­date knowl­edge acquired from Essen­tials of Oncol­o­gy and Advanced Oncol­o­gy Part 1, apply best prac­tice approach­es, and make evi­dence-based rec­om­men­da­tions when car­ing for can­cer patients.

“As patients’ health­care needs become increas­ing­ly com­plex, it’s impor­tant for phar­ma­cists to enhance their abil­i­ty to pro­vide care to patients with can­cer and their fam­i­lies,” notes Dr. Heather Boon, Dean of the Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. “The new Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists pro­gram address­es the need that exists for spe­cial­ized train­ing in the care of peo­ple liv­ing with can­cer, and pro­vides phar­ma­cists with real world exam­ples and skills to ensure their patients receive the best pos­si­ble care.”

“Offer­ing appro­pri­ate train­ing in oncol­o­gy care to health­care providers across the province is an impor­tant com­po­nent of our Ontario Can­cer Plan,“ says Dr. Robin McLeod, Vice Pres­i­dent of Clin­i­cal Pro­grams & Qual­i­ty Ini­tia­tives at Can­cer Care Ontario. “We are pleased to sup­port this pro­gram to pro­vide stan­dard­ized con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion to phar­ma­cists deliv­er­ing care to patients with can­cer.”

Devel­oped and deliv­ered by today’s lead­ing oncol­o­gy spe­cial­ists, the Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists: A Per­son-Cen­tred Approach to Car­ing for Peo­ple Liv­ing with Can­cer pro­gram will pro­vide prac­tic­ing phar­ma­cists with the knowl­edge, skills, and con­fi­dence to pro­vide safe and opti­mal care for patients with can­cer.

For more infor­ma­tion about the Oncol­o­gy for Phar­ma­cists: A Per­son-Cen­tred Approach to Car­ing for Peo­ple Liv­ing with Can­cer pro­gram at the Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy, includ­ing pro­gram start dates and reg­is­tra­tion infor­ma­tion, please vis­it


 For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Jef Ekins
Man­ag­er, Mar­ket­ing & Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
Leslie Dan Fac­ul­ty of Phar­ma­cy
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Tel: 416–946-7036