Special supplement on Canadian cancer costing research

Costing Series

Special supplement on Canadian cancer costing research

S. Peacock, PhD*, K.K.W. Chan, MD PhD*

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.26.5057

As we approach the 10th anniversary of the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (arcc), we choose to celebrate that significant milestone by supporting Current Oncology with this second special supplement focusing on Canadian costing research. We are delighted to see the journal’s continuing commitment to publishing health economics and health services evidence focused on Canada, and to addressing questions relating to the sustainability, affordability, quality, and value of Canada’s cancer systems. Since the first Current Oncology supplement on cancer costing in 2016, policy challenges relating to each of those foregoing four considerations have only intensified. Most notably, the policy landscape is changing with the arrival of the first chimeric antigen receptor T-cell products, rapid growth in the development of new drugs for rare diseases, and a trend toward “manufacturing” rarity in cancer as a byproduct of using precision medicine to create new subtypes within existing tumour types.

We were delighted to see the quality and breadth of both the submitted papers for this supplement and, indeed, the final papers published here. They reflect the significant talent and experience of researchers, students, clinicians, and decision-makers working in health economics and health services research in Canada, as well as the richness of our high-quality administrative data sets. And arcc has been delighted to play a central role in research, capacity building, and knowledge translation in this community during the last 10 years.

Established in 2009, arcc receives core funding from the Canadian Cancer Society, based on a 5-year grant cycle. We are extremely grateful for the ongoing support of the Society. The mission embraced by arcc is to improve cancer control and the delivery of cancer care through interdisciplinary, pan-Canadian leadership in health economics, services, policy and ethics research, capacity building, and knowledge translation. Collectively, we refer to health economics, services, policy and ethics research as “applied research in cancer control.”

In establishing arcc, we developed a unique interprovincial and interdisciplinary body that has built on an initial collaboration between academics, clinicians, and decision-makers at BC Cancer, Cancer Care Ontario, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, and Simon Fraser University. The first research centre of its kind in the world, arcc is bringing together Canada’s leading social sciences, population health, and clinical researchers and decision-makers.

A number of highlights from the last 10 years deserve a moment here. All are directly linked to the core questions of sustainability, affordability, quality, and value in Canada’s cancer control systems.

In 2009, we established the arcc Network, which is a virtual community of Canadian and international researchers, students, clinicians, decision-makers, and policymakers who are interested and invested in applied cancer control research. During the last 10 years, the arcc Network has grown from nothing to more than 1000 members from 11 provinces and territories—as well as from outside Canada.

Until the work to develop arcc started, collaboration between applied researchers, students, clinicians, and decision-makers in cancer control was relatively limited. The first Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control had just been finalized, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer was in its infancy, and the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies was nowhere near as active as it is today. The arcc Network was established to meet a clear and present need for pan-Canadian collaboration, coordination, and leadership in applied cancer research. Our aim was to build a network that would serve as an exemplar process of how Canadians could work together to achieve common goals, to improve research leadership, and to reduce duplication of effort.

Network activities include staging arcc’s National Conference, conducting workshops and seminars, presenting research webinars, and arranging work placements and mentorship opportunities. The Network is also responsible for running arcc’s pan-Canadian Seed Grant, Studentship, and Student Travel Competitions. In December 2018, we were proud to announce the latest cadre of students who were successful in obtaining an arcc Studentship.

Several large research programs have been directly created from the activities of the arcc Network and the relationships it has fostered. In that accomplishment, arcc has sought to add value through two main approaches: working with pan-Canadian organizations that are stakeholders or knowledge users to enable research findings to have a pan-Canadian influence; and leading multi-province research, knowledge translation, and capacity building programs to further pan-Canadian research while also paying attention to province-specific needs and issues.

Major programs of research include the Canadian Cancer Costing Consortium, which is developing comprehensive costing using administrative data; the Canadian Real-World Evidence of Value in Cancer Drugs consortium (CanREValue, https://cc-arcc.ca/canrevalue/), which is developing methods and policy guidance for real-world evidence; the Patient Self-Administered Financial Effects program (p-safe, https://psafe.mcmaster.ca/), which is collecting data about out-of-pocket costs for patients and caregivers in 8 provinces and territories; a Health Technology Assessment (hta) Methods Program, which is working with Canadian hta agencies on developing new methods and evidence standards; a Quality and Palliative Care Program that is developing new pan-Canadian access and quality indicators for palliative and end-of-life care (https://cc-arcc.ca/health-systems-services-and-policy/#toggle-id-1); Public and Patient Methods Engagement programs in hta and cancer control funding decisions1; a Precision Medicine Methods program that is examining a range of new challenges relating to hta, public and patient values, ethics issues, and value to cancer control systems; and a Survivorship Program that is addressing the physical, psychosocial, and economic impacts of cancer on survivors and their families.

The ongoing commitment of Current Oncology to publishing health economics and health services evidence focused on Canada is very welcome as we move into the next phase of precision medicine, which will certainly raise even more important questions relating to the sustainability, affordability, quality, and value of Canada’s cancer control systems.


The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. The Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC) receives core funding from the Canadian Cancer Society (grant no. 2015-703549). Both OICR and ARCC are proud to support the publication of this costing series.


We have read and understood Current Oncology’s policy on disclosing conflicts of interest, and we declare that we have none.


*Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control, Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, ON.


1 Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (cpac). Making Fair and Sustainable Decisions about Funding for Cancer Drugs in Canada: Engaging the Public in Meaningful Deliberation. Toronto, ON: cpac; 2017. [Available online at: https://content.cancerview.ca/download/cv/quality_and_planning/system_planning/quality_initiatives_microsite/documents/making_fair_sustainable_decisions_about_funding_cancer_drugs_canadap?attachment=0; cited 9 January 2019]

Correspondence to: Kelvin K.W. Chan, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5. E-mail: kelvin.chan@sunnybrook.ca

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Current Oncology, VOLUME 26, NUMBER 2, April 2019

Copyright © 2019 Multimed Inc.
ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)