Canada has a strategy for cancer control. The Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control calls for a cancer research vision that unites us all.
Over the next ten years, Canada’s cancer control system needs to evolve. It needs to become more equitable, eliminating barriers to the care, resources and information people need. It needs to focus on reducing the risk of developing cancer and on detecting cancer more precisely and as early as possible. And it needs to ensure that we’re able to deliver world-class cancer care in an integrated and sustainable health system.
Research is Critical
Our strategy for cancer control demands that we empower researchers to ask big questions. Encourage exploratory science. Embrace new ideas. Turn new discoveries into real-world applications as quickly as possible. And improve the lives of cancer patients and their loved ones. No matter how technical or data-intensive research becomes, we must always keep people at the heart of every new advance and application.
Cancer research continually evolves. Technology, data, and collaboration all advance at unprecedented pace and scale. Canada remains on the leading edge of this change and must not slow its pace or take anything for granted. We must be bold, work together, and more than ever, unite with common purpose and intent to inspire all people living in Canada to support courageous science.
We believe cancer research can be a bold social movement, driven by people with a strong sense of urgency to demand ambitious, practical solutions for positive change. This urgency drives Canadian researchers to be innovators who embrace technological advance and lead the global community in tackling cancer’s most complex challenges.
We also believe that no promising cancer discovery — from Canada or anywhere else — should ever be wasted. We must capitalize on every idea that can advance cancer science and improve people’s lives. That means fully integrating research into a dynamic and adaptive healthcare system focused on maximizing social, mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing — including prevention efforts, end-of-life care, and everything in between.
Three broad commitments guide the Canadian cancer research community toward this Vision.
Commitment 1: We need Activated Populations
Every person in Canada understands that cancer research is about, for, and with them.
Cancer affects us all. It is both universal and deeply personal. Tackling its scope, scale, and complexity means asking every person in Canada to contribute actively to a culture of cancer control. We need to keep people at the centre of all healthcare strategies, and respect the diversity of individuals, communities, and cultures.
Whether contributing their own health data, leading or participating in research, offering perspective on research priorities, or putting new ideas into practice, every person in Canada is integral to the cancer research ecosystem, and empowered to decide when and how to engage.
Commitment 2: We need Intrepid Science
The Canadian approach to cancer research is leading the way.
As cancer research and technology advance more rapidly than ever before, we require resilience and agility to adapt and lead. We need to take risks, reach outside disciplinary boundaries, and tackle problems in new and unexpected ways. We need the courage to ask not just, “Why?” but also, “Why not?”
Canada’s researchers are innovators. They tackle cancer’s most complex challenges at the highest levels of scientific excellence. They ask bold questions; appreciate complex insights that reflect a diverse population. They build on success, learn from failure, and embrace the collaborative spirit to work across disciplines. These intrepid scientists integrate emerging technologies into a data ecosystem that connects and serves all people in Canada and around the world.
Commitment 3: We need Living Innovation
Cancer research is at the heart of Canada’s dynamic cancer control system.
Translating cancer research knowledge and innovation is an adaptive and iterative process. We need a research system that responds immediately to changes in scientific, medical, and real-world evidence; brings discoveries to people without delay; identifies where each intervention works best; advances best practices in near real-time; shares knowledge and experience to fuel future research; and respects individuals and reduces inequity.
Everyone involved in cancer control plays a role in research and can contribute to this system of continuous learning and innovation.
These three commitments mutually reinforce one another in an enduring, virtuous cycle. As people become more active and engaged, Canadian cancer science becomes more powerful. As the science is emboldened, research is more readily recognized, integrated, and implemented. And as cancer-control research provides greater impact, individuals become more active and engaged.
Canada’s Vision for Cancer Research belongs to everyone and every person is a valued partner. Consider your place within this Vision and how you can most effectively contribute.
We ask everyone in Canada to integrate the essence of this Vision into their own strategic plans, research advocacy, or cancer control work, and to join together to advance an activated, intrepid, and living system of cancer research, innovation, and impact.
Cancer Research Vision Slide Deck