Answer complex questions to improve patient outcomes and optimize cancer system resources.

What is OncoSim?

OncoSim is a free, web-based microsimulation tool that evaluates cancer control strategies for prevention, screening and treatment of common cancers. OncoSim (previously known as the Cancer Risk Management Model, or CRMM) creates and compares projections of cancer rates, deaths, resource needs, direct health-care costs and other economic impacts, such as lost wages.

OncoSim is led and supported by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, with model development by Statistics Canada, and is made possible through funding by Health Canada.

What is microsimulation?

Microsimulation is a modelling technique that uses real-world data. While microsimulation isn’t new to cancer care or health care, what’s new is the creation of micro-level simulations to help make macro-level projections for Canada. OncoSim uses microsimulation to project the life of one Canadian at a time, from birth to death. The tool combines Canadian data, including demographic and economic data, to characterize a person’s life with cancer, if affected. This process is repeated to project millions of lives, and these projections are combined to produce provincial and national health and economic outcomes.

Why OncoSim is a game-changer

OncoSim is a state-of-the-art cost/benefit analysis tool that helps researchers, policy advisors and decision-makers working in the areas of cancer prevention, screening and treatment to predict the impact of policy changes on outcomes such as incidence, mortality and economic burden. It helps to fill information gaps when data is lacking or where clinical trials or practice experiments are not feasible. When faced with the challenge of how to spend tight health-care budgets, OncoSim can provide insight to help answer key policy questions in cancer care.

Current and upcoming models

OncoSim currently includes detailed microsimulation models for:

  • colorectal cancer
  • lung cancer, including smoking cessation effects
  • cervical cancer, including a model of HPV transmission and vaccination programs

In development are models for:

  • breast cancer
  • all cancers in a group, with a focus on prevention and population risks

The OncoSim model reflects disease progression and clinical treatment pathways consistent with current knowledge and evidence-based practice. It is developed by working groups of clinicians, epidemiologists, pathologists, mathematical modellers and economists, all experts in their respective fields. Each model is validated by external experts, including researchers and practising oncologists, and external real-world data.

Working for you

OncoSim has helped policy analysts, clinicians, researchers, academics and program managers to assess and report on a variety of cancer control issues. Whether you are involved in practice or policy development for prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, palliative care or end-of-life care, you can strengthen your efforts with OncoSim’s customized cancer control projections. You can easily export OncoSim projections in data and graph formats to your computer for reference, analysis and presentation. For public sector use, OncoSim is available free of charge on an online platform with 24/7 access.



OncoSim’s conceptual framework

Diagram shows how primary prevention (i.e risk factors like lifestyle, environment and presence of virus), early prevention (i.e. screening target populations, their participation rates and various modalities) and secondary prevention (i.e. new treatment, its cost, survival rates and helathy utility) feed into cancer incidence, treatment, progression, relapse and case-fatality. Outcomes include cancer incidence, cancer deaths, resource needs, direct health-care costs, life expentancy, economic impacts, all of which are affected by age, year, sex and province. This data leads to conclusions around Incremental Cost-effectiveness Ratios (ICERs).


Contact us

If you think OncoSim has potential to support your work in cancer control, contact us at oncosim@partnershipagainstcancer.ca.

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