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Prevention and Screening

Prevention and Screening

The Partnership is developing high-impact, population-based prevention and cancer screening approaches through collaboration with a broad range of cancer and chronic disease partners.

Desired outcomes by 2017:

  • Leading multi-jurisdictional approaches to cancer and chronic disease prevention will be identified, adopted and implemented
  • Changes in evidence-based policy and population-based prevention practices will be demonstrated
  • The number of Canadians appropriately participating in population-based cancer screening programs will increase
  • Quality will be improved through national reporting of cancer screening quality indicators and through collaborative development of targets in colorectal cancer screening

Approach to Prevention

Many cancers and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, can be prevented through healthier lifestyles and communities. Maintaining a healthy body weight, ensuring a healthy diet (including appropriate alcohol use), limiting sun exposure, not smoking and improving the quality of our natural and built environment can help reduce the risk of cancer and chronic disease. Left unaddressed, these risk factors will contribute to the growing burden of cancer and chronic disease in Canada.

To yield significant impact, population-wide prevention efforts require a multidisciplinary,multi-sector and multi-jurisdictional approach. It is imperative to provide researchers, practice and policy specialists with knowledge of effective population-based prevention interventions and policies. The challenge remains creating opportunities for health professionals to work across jurisdictions and disciplines in a formal, co-ordinated manner, maximizing benefits from the evidence and from interventions currently in existence. Moving beyond small, isolated pilot projects into a comprehensive and co-ordinated model can accelerate the adoption of evidence and best practices across provinces and territories. This was a focus for the prevention portfolio during the Partnership’s first mandate.

The Partnership is successfully working with partners such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation to bridge research, practice and policy silos and to increase the availability of evidence-based cancer and chronic disease prevention approaches in public health and primary care practice settings. Activities to expand this work to include additional chronic disease partners and to address sustainability of efforts are already underway and will be a continued focus from 2012-2017.


Find out more about the initiatives supporting this strategic priority in the Partnership’s 2012-2017 business plan.


Approach to Screening

Early detection of cancer and precancerous lesions is a key component of cancer control, since cancers diagnosed at an earlier stage are more treatable. The availability of reliable screening tests for certain cancers such as breast, cervical and colorectal, and scientific evidence indicating that organized population-based screening reduces deaths from these cancers, provide a platform for action. A particular challenge is ensuring that high-quality screening tests are available and are accessed by the right people at appropriate intervals. Efficient and effective use of these screening tests, and of potential new tests as they arise, is imperative to ensure better cancer control.

The Partnership spearheaded efforts in organized population-based screening by providing effective and ongoing support for pan-Canadian networks for colorectal cancer and cervical cancer control.[1] These networks are facilitating knowledge exchange, development of quality standards and reporting against a common set of indicators. These activities reduce duplication of effort in planning, implementing and enhancing organized screening programs across jurisdictions. The Partnership will continue to build on these efforts so more Canadians in target populations are screened for preventable cancers.


  • Population-Based Screening (priority initiative)

Find out more about the initiatives supporting this strategic priority in the Partnership’s 2012-2017 business plan.


[1] Since breast cancer screening is under the purview of the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Partnership did not pursue activities in this domain but supported efforts related to breast cancer screening as appropriate. The Partnership will continue to support these efforts where suitable opportunities arise.