Pre-Conference Workshops

1. Delivering Community Cancer Supportive Programs in the Virtual Space

Presenter: Katie Jacobs

90-minutes

Gilda's Club Greater Toronto (GCGT) has offered in-person psychosocial oncology programming for 20 years. When the pandemic occurred in 2020 we were require to shift our model of care to the virtual space.  In nine months were able to successfully run over 300 virtual programs and welcome over 200 new individuals into our virtual community. We hope to address the lesson we learned and best practices on how to successful pivot to the virtual space, how to offer a wide breadth of psychosocial support and build a virtual community that supports the reduction of isolation. 

Learning Objectives:

  • How to successfully create and implement virtual psychosocial oncology programs
  • Virtual programming best practices and lessons learned
  • How to create a virtual community

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2. Managing fear of cancer recurrence in cancer survivors and caregivers with the Fear of Recurrence Therapy (FORT) group therapy 

Presenters: Dr. Sophie Lebel, Dr. Christine Maheu

150-minutes

This workshop will focus on the most frequently cited unmet need of cancer survivors and their caregivers, fear of cancer recurrence (FCR). FCR is present in a range of severity in all people who survive cancer, with up to 49% of survivors reporting elevated or ‘clinical’ levels of this concern. For these survivors, FCR is persistent and disabling, preventing them from making future plans, causing over-screening and over-use of medical services and compromising quality of life.   Fortunately, several trials of evidence-based and theoretically supported therapies have been successfully completed in the past 5 years. This workshop will provide an overview of the Fear Of Recurrence Therapy (FORT) intervention, a six-week cognitive-existential group therapy offered face-to-face and online. The content and exercises of each session will be presented in detail. Practical strategies to implement this therapy with patients and caregivers will be demonstrated and practiced in the workshop. Patient handouts, relevant papers, and frameworks will be provided to workshop attendees via email.  

Learning Objectives:

  • The attendee shall be able to describe FORT’s theoretical framework for FCR
  • The attendee shall be able to describe and deliver methods to reduce FCR, including cognitive restructuring, education about signs of recurrence/seeking appropriate medical information, increasing tolerance for uncertainty, awareness and challenging of meta-cognitions about worry, exposure to worst fears, and re-engaging with meaningful activities

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3. Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Advocacy-how do we address the issue of late diagnosis?

Presenter: Lorna Larsen

90-minutes

Over the past two decades late diagnosis has been identified as an issue in the adolescent and young adult (AYA ) cancer continuum and reported as an added distress for AYAs diagnosed. Early detection screening is limited for the well AYA population. Knowledge of cancer risk, symptoms and self-care strategies provide the AYA population with the opportunity for self-detection and earlier medical diagnosis. Few awareness and education opportunities have been implemented to address this unmet need in Canada.  Public health best practice and effective health promotion initiatives help reach and educate the AYA population at risk. Successful Canadian and global examples are emerging to positively impact AYA diagnosed. Learnings from these strategies can help address the need to increase early detection, reduce distress and help improve outcomes for AYA diagnosed.  The workshop will review both the evidence and current state of upstream awareness and education efforts to reach Canadian AYA with their cancer risk and early detection messaging. Both broader social media and breast cancer in young women examples will be highlighted. The impact on young women and stories from young breast cancer survivors will also be shared.  Feedback and possible next steps will be explored with workshop participants. 

Learning Objectives:

  • To review the issue of late diagnosis in the AYA population with cancer
  • To understand the impact of late diagnosis on AYA with cancer
  • To increase awareness of health promotion strategies to address late diagnosis of AYA with cancer

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4. Enhancing access to cancer care and meeting the palliative care needs of Indigenous Peoples

Presenter: Holly Prince

90-minutes

Indigenous Peoples have limited access to palliative care when facing advanced illness, end of life, and bereavement in Canada. When access is achieved, the Western medical approach is often at odds with Indigenous ways of knowing and commonly does not respond with culturally safe care. In response to this need, the Canadian Virtual Hospice collaborated with Indigenous Elders, scholars, healthcare providers, patients, and families from across the country. With Holly Prince as the project lead, we co-designed interactive tools to educate and empower patients, families, and communities and also enhanced healthcare providers' capacity to deliver culturally safer care. Geared towards healthcare providers, this workshop will start with an Elder sharing teachings on the strengths and challenges of providing palliative care in Indigenous communities. Holly Prince will highlight a series of co-designed cultural competency modules to educate healthcare providers on inclusive, culturally safer care for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis living with advanced illness and grief. She will present a new resource developed by a national group of Elders to support personhood and advance care planning discussions. These resources are patient teaching and support tools. A group discussion will highlight the applicability of the resources in delivering culturally safe and relevant care to Indigenous Peoples.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about various barriers that limit appropriate healthcare for Indigenous Peoples
  • Explore why mainstream palliative care models are often not successful in Indigenous communities and outline aspects that contribute to successful models
  • Identify ways healthcare providers can become allies to Indigenous Peoples so that they experience healing palliative care, and end of life/transition in a culturally safer way.

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5. Student/Trainee workshop: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Cancer Research and Psychosocial Oncology Practices

Presenters:  Samar Attieh, Lauren Rochelle Barron Squires, Tristan Bilash (He/Him)

90-minutes

This workshop offers an introduction to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) concepts in cancer research activities. Best practices will be explored with a focus on team composition, study design, and recruitment processes. Short scenarios will be presented and discussed to develop competencies in these areas. Students/Trainees will become familiar with EDI action plans of national research funding agencies. EDI concepts will be also explored in relation to psychosocial oncology services from patient and clinical perspectives.

Learning Objectives:

  • Enhance equity, diversity, and inclusion related concepts within cancer research activities (e.g., team composition, study design, recruitment processes)  
  • Become familiar with the actions taken by granting agencies to enhance an equitable, diverse and inclusive access to research support and funding opportunities 
  • Discuss equity, diversity, and inclusion in psychosocial oncology clinical practices 


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