McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Faculty appointed to lead new Primary Care and Cancer Strategy

By Laura Thompson
Published: November 3, 2008
Cheryl Levitt
Dr. Cheryl Levitt, a professor and past chair of the Department of Family Medicine

Two faculty members in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine have been appointed to lead a new Primary Care and Cancer Strategy launched by Cancer Care Ontario.

The strategy focuses on drawing stronger linkages between the primary-care system and the cancer system.

Dr. Cheryl Levitt, a professor and past chair of the Department of Family Medicine, has been appointed Cancer Care Ontario’s provincial clinical lead for primary care. Dr. Michael Mills, a part-time assistant clinical professor and Burlington family physician, has been named the regional lead in the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network.

A total of 12 members — 11 regional leads and one provincial lead — have been named to the Provincial Primary Care Network, and each will act as a contact for primary-care providers and regional cancer centres in Ontario.

"Family doctors are intensely involved with their patients throughout the whole journey of cancer," said Dr. Levitt, who has practiced family medicine for more than 30 years. "Patients tell us that they really value their family doctor’s opinion and support during that time. So we know that family doctors do a lot of it, but we’re also aware that there are huge opportunities to improve the relationship between family doctors and the cancer system."

The initial focus of the strategy will be to improve screening and detection rates within the ColonCancerCheck program, a province-wide screening program created by the Ontario government and Cancer Care Ontario.

"It’s a really good place to start because fecal occult blood testing (screening tool  that detects blood in the stool) is far from optimal in any area around Ontario," Dr. Levitt said. "If we improve it, we can really make a difference. We can identify very early cases of cancer and cure them and we can identify pre-cancer and cure it. So there’s a huge opportunity to save lives from this initiative."

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0