Sessions Descriptions

Session descriptions will be posted as they become available. Please visit this page regularly for updated information.  
Click on the links below to be directed to specific days: 

Saturday, April 27

Opening Plenary (09:00-09:45)

Evolution of Adjuvant Systemic Therapy for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Presentation Handout

Ron MacCormik, Cape Breton Cancer Centre, Cape Breton, NS

Prior to 1977, women with Lymph node involved breast cancer were normally treated with a radical mastectomy and no other adjuvant therapy.  5 years survival following this approach was approximately 40%.

Patients presenting today with Lymph node involved breast cancer are normally treated with much less aggressive surgery but also receive a multitude of Adjuvant Treatments including traditional chemotherapy, radiation treatment, monoclonal antibody treatment, anti-hormonal treatment and bisphosphonates.  5 year survival now approaches 80%.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Attendees will learn of the historical evolution of Breast Cancer treatment focusing on systemic therapy; 
  2. Attendees will be briefed on the evidence supporting the role of chemotherapy, anti-hormonal therapy, monoclonal antibody therapy and bisphosphonate therapy; and
  3. Attendees will gain an understanding of long-term toxicity of systemic adjuvant therapy.

Plenary (09:45-10:30)

What's New and What's Coming in Myeloma

Presentation Handout

Darrell White, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

Treatment of multiple myeloma has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. For transplant ineligible and relapsed patients in particular the treatment options have expanded greatly. New treatments have been found to be associated with incremental improvement in progression free survival and overall survival on a large series of clinical trials. Importantly, the effect of these newer treatments can be seen in population based, or “real-world”, epidemiological data with improvement in overall survival being evident in the population of patients with multiple myeloma. Unfortunately, there is still no known curative treatment so further work and refinement is required. Additionally, especially in the Canadian context, cost and cost-utility need to be considered.

I will discuss current Canadian management of multiple myeloma focusing on the relapsed refractory population. We will consider the targets and mechanisms of current and newer therapies as well as efficacy and adverse effects. Treatment will also be discussed from the point of view of Canadian clinical trials.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review current myeloma management; 
  2. Discuss mechanisms and targets of current therapies; and
  3. Review future directions and interesting data.

CAPhO Awards (11:10-11:40)

Plenary (11:40-12:25)

Infertility Risk Reduction in Female Oncology Patients

Presentation Handouts

Mike Ripley, Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies and Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

More than 5% of Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer before they are 40 years old. Oncology patients of reproductive age are increasingly interested in starting or completing their families after their cancer treatments. Improvements in cryopreservation techniques have made the freezing of sperms, eggs, and embryos prior to treatment an option for these patients. Current challenges include improving the affordability of these treatments and medications, increasing the awareness of patients and healthcare providers of available fertility preservation options, and minimizing the impact of fertility preservation on patients' cancer treatment. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. To understand the risks and benefits for oncology patients undergoing an in vitro fertilization cycle for fertility preservation purposes;
  2. To understand the pros and cons of cryopreserving embryos versus oocytes;
  3. To be able to describe the evidence for and against using GnRH agonists for ovarian suppression in chemotherapy patients; and 
  4. To be able to discuss ethical issues arising from fertility preservation. 

CAPhO Annual General Meeting (12:25-13:00)

Plenary (14:00-14:40)

The Power of Social Media to Improve Health Research and Care

Presentation Handout

Christine Chambers, Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre, Halifax, NS

Pre-reading: Navigating Your Social Media Presence: Opportunities and Challenges

Social media use is on the rise. With a 10-fold increase in use over the last decade, it is estimated that over two-thirds of adults now use social media on a regular basis. Social media brings new opportunities for sharing and promoting health research evidence to a large group of individuals including patients, caregivers, and the public at large. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Summarize professional opportunities in the area of social media and outline the various ways that health professionals can use social media in their research, practice, and advocacy;
  2. Provide examples of how social media has been used to reach and engage patients and caregivers in the area of childhood pain management via the award-winning #ItDoesntHaveToHurt initiative; and
  3. Provide practical suggestions for health professionals on creating, sharing and interacting over social media. 

Concurrent Sessions 1 (14:45-15:25)

Optimizing Patient Education of Oncology Medications

Presentation Handout

Laura Minard, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS
The provision of oncology medication education is becoming progressively more important due to the increasing complexity of cancer treatments, an aging population and improved prognoses. Patient education increases patients’ abilities to make informed decisions, increases medication adherence, decreases feelings of anxiety and depression, and improves patient satisfaction. 
Learning Objectives:
  1. To explore patients’ perspectives of optimal oncology medication education that should be provided to patients at the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA), Central Zone;
  2. To quantify the patient perspective of optimal oncology medication education across the province of Nova Scotia; and
  3. To explore health care professionals' (HCPs) perspectives of optimal oncology medication education that should be provided to patients at NSHA.

CAR T-cell Therapies: The Rules of the Road

Melanie Trinacty, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON
This presentation will begin with a brief description of CAR T-cell therapy and the current products available.  The presenter will also discuss the efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy, which patients may benefit, considerations for bridging patients to therapy and the chemotherapy regimens administered prior to the infusion of CAR T-cells.  The final part of the presentation will surround the common toxicities around CAR T-cell administration and how the pharmacist can be involved in their management.  
Learning Objectives:
  1. Understand the concept of CAR-T therapy and which products are available for which indications;
  2. Identify patients who are eligible for CAR-T therapy;
  3. Discuss therapy options for bridging patients to CAR-T therapy; and
  4. Describe and manage the common toxicities associated with CAR-T therapy.

The Journey to NAPRA Compliance

Presentation Handout

Michelle Koberinski, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC

Have questions about how to implement NAPRA’s Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Hazardous Sterile Preparations at your facility? Well, you are not alone.

Participants of the Oncology Fundamentals Day (OFD Tech 19) that took place in February were asked what challenges they were facing when implementing NAPRA’s Model Standards. This presentation will attempt to answer the questions that were asked and speak to the challenges presented.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Outline the importance of NAPRA’s Model Standards for Pharmacy Compounding of Hazardous Sterile Preparations; 
  2. Summarize training requirements for pharmacy staff;
  3. Discuss infrastructure challenges; and
  4. Review cleaning requirements.

Understanding "The Basics" of Radiation Therapy

Presentation Handout

Catherine Shepherd, Sydney Cancer Center and Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, Sydney, NS
The goal of the presentation will be to provide information to those attending allowing them to further understand the collaborative role of Radiation Therapy in the treatment of cancer patients. We will cover the fundamentals of Radiation Therapy, the team involved with every patient’s care, the “steps” required to provide safe radiation therapy, types of Radiation Treatments and side effects associated with the treatment process. 
Learning Objectives:
  1. To understand the fundamentals of radiation therapy;
  2. To understand the process of radiation therapy treatment; and
  3. To understand the collaborative role of radiation therapy and the treatment of patients.

Concurrent Sessions 2 (16:05-16:45)

The Three Palliative Care Concepts That Will Reframe YOUR Oncology Practice

Presentation Handout

Lauren Hutton, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS
The World Health Organization defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality-of-life (QOL) of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of an early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual.” This level of care is something everyone deserves throughout all stages of their cancer journey. I am hoping to inspire you to integrate these three transformative palliative/supportive care concepts into your area of oncology practice. 
Learning Objectives:
  1. Evaluate a patient’s medication list for deprescribing opportunities in the setting of an acute life-limiting illness;
  2. Describe the role of shared decision making and directed patient autonomy in supporting a patient through a medication related decision making processes; and
  3. List the differences between patients with cancer pain and those with non-cancer pain, receiving opioid therapy. 

Therapeutic Application of Pharmacogenomics in Oncology: Getting Personal in Cancer Care

Shirin Abadi, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC
Carcinogenesis is a complex process, driven by a multitude of abnormal genomic patterns.  These patterns can make an individual resistant or sensitive to various antineoplastic agents. By understanding the biomarkers associated with chemo-sensitivity and/or chemo-resistance, one could potentially offer more targeted and patient-specific treatment options that may positively influence patient health outcomes and safety.  
Learning Objectives:
  1. To understand the impact of personalized medicine on evolution of pharmacotherapy in oncology;
  2. To appreciate the complexity of genomic analysis in oncology; and
  3. To recognize opportunities for evaluation of genomic biomarkers in patients with cancer.

Oncology 101: Back to Basics

Presentation Handout

Colleen Olson, Saskatoon Cancer Centre, Saskatoon, SK
Learning Objectives:
  1. Overview of the different mechanism of actions of cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted therapy and checkpoint inhibitor therapy agents;
  2. Common toxicities by class of agent;
  3. Discuss the rationale for the different schedules of administration for different cytotoxic treatment regimens; and
  4. How do granulocyte colony stimulation factors (GCSF) work and what are the guidelines for use.

Geriatric Oncology: An Overview of Considerations in Elderly Patients Receiving Cancer Treatment

Presentation Handout

Mark Pasetka, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON

The presentation focuses on aspects of cancer treatment and management in the elderly population. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the general considerations surrounding the treatment of cancer in geriatric patients;
  2. Describe the patient- and tumour-related factors thought to affect tolerance of chemotherapy in older adults; and
  3. Describe the issues surrounding adherence to oral anti-cancer medications in geriatric patients.

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Sunday, April 28

CAPhO Town Hall Breakfast Meeting (08:30-09:15)

Influence and contribute to the growth and development of your association by discussing what matters the most with the CAPhO Executive Committee and fellow members. A light breakfast will be offered during this session.

CAPhO Poster Award Presentations (09:15-09:45)

CAPhO Poster Awards will be presented for the best posters in Research (Clinical), Research (Non-clinical), Pharmacy Practice and Administration. Award recipients will make a short presentation summarizing the subject of their poster.

Round Table Discussions (09:45-10:30)

During the Round Table Discussions, participants will have the opportunity to discuss two of the nine available topics, each led by a different facilitator. Read below for details on the topics and facilitators for this session. Participation is limited and sign up is required during online registration.

1. High Dose Methotrexate - Helping Patients Achieve Minimal Toxicity

Discussion Handout

Joy Rashid, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON

High dose methotrexate is used in a variety of childhood and adult treatment protocols.  Pharmacists play a vital role in identifying patients at risk of toxicity and in developing therapeutic drug monitoring pathways to ensure safe and effective use. Join us to discuss best practices and standards of care to optimize safety for our patients. 

2. Anti-Emetic Drug Interactions

Discussion Handout

Kathy Walker and Lauren Hutton, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS

Anti-emetic medications used in the prevention and treatment of chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) have numerous pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics that may lead to potentially clinically significant drug interactions. Join us in a facilitated conversation with your colleagues from across the nation to discuss: how anti-emetic drug interactions play a role in various oncology practice settings; case-based discussions highlighting tips on identification, management, and monitoring of potential anti-emetic drug interactions; and strategies for patient-and-family-centered education, empowering patients to self-monitor and manage potential anti-emetic drug interactions without compromising effective prevention and treatment of CINV.

3. Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors - Patient Education

Jonathan Stevens, Horizon Health, Saint John, NB

This hot topic discussion will seek to clarify the need for ICI specific patient education and will explore potential avenues by which this education could be delivered. Other topics of discussion will include: contents of the education session, a review of existing practices and a review of ICI specific patient education tools in use. 

4. Innovative Systemic Therapy Preparation Tools

Philip Shaheen, Cape Breton Cancer Centre and Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney, NS

In this information sharing session; participants will have the opportunity to bring forward (and learn about) various electronic or non-electronic tools that sites have developed in order to streamline or improve the safety of systemic therapy preparation.

5. The OnTarget Website

Discussion Handout

Marie-Pascale Guay, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC

One click to trigger all the information you need to manage adverse events related to targeted therapies in oncology /   

6. Drug Shortages in Oncology

Joanne Houlihan, NSHA Cancer Care Program, Halifax, NS

A discussion on the current challenges associated with oncology drug shortages, including conservation strategies and communication of information.

7. Sterile Work: Not Just a Pain in the Neck

Kate Doull-McCaul and Shelley Heukshorst, QE II Health Sciences Centre and Nova Scotia Health Authority, Halifax, NS

Staff shortages. Mounting workloads. Less time to think about slowing down and taking care of ourselves while we continue to tirelessly get more done with less help have resulted in repetitive stress injuries among technicians. What’s the answer?

8. Technician Certification Program for Chemotherapy Checking

Colleen Thurber, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, Saskatoon, SK

This discussion will cover the four essential elements required for the development and successful launch of a chemotherapy checking program for pharmacy technicians.  Technicians move to an advanced scope of practice, allowing pharmacists to provide enhanced clinical care by working more closely with patients.

9. Safe Work Practices for Cytotoxic Spills

Samantha Wright, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON

Clear procedures, which staff who handle cytotoxic or contaminated waste should be familiar with, must be in place for dealing with spills or contamination of people or work surfaces.  Safe work practices and properly implemented control measures significantly reduce exposure, and, consequently, the risks of adverse health effects.  Measures to prevent or contain spills should be used at all times. Any spills that do occur should be dealt with promptly. 

Plenary (10:45-11:30)

The Microbiome, Cancer and Immunotherapy

Stephanie Snow, Dalhousie University and QEII Hospital, Halifax, Nova Scotia

I will aim to review of the nature of the microbiome, and potential links with health and wellness, including for cancer patients.  This will include examining some of the real world data that suggest the microbiome may be a predictive factor for treatment response to immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors in cancer patients.  Finally I will explore the concept of the microbiome as a modifiable predictive factor, both for the better and worse, and briefly discuss some of the ongoing research that is looking at this question.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define concepts of the microbiome and dysbiosis;
  2. Explore potential links between these concepts and states of health and disease;
  3. Review real world data showing that the microbiome may be the link between emerging predictors of efficacy of immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitors for cancer patients, including the use of antimicrobials and PPIs; and
  4. Discuss how the microbiome may be manipulated in the future to enhance oncologic outcomes for cancer patients treated with immunotherapy.

Plenary (11:30-12:15)

Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Care - Why It Matters and How to Improve Care

Presentation Handout

Amirrtha Sriikanathan, University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, Ottawa, ON

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) with cancer, defined as ages 15-39 years of age, are a distinct demographic with unique psychosocial, development and medical needs. The provision of cancer care to this demographic cohort has been consistently demonstrated to be suboptimal, resulting in poorer survival gains and poorer quality of life compared to pediatric and older patients. Increasing awareness, and tailoring counselling and medical care to the patient specific requirements of this population can make meaningful and significant improvements in quality of life and survival.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To review the current epidemiology of Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) with cancer in Canada;
  2. To identify the common psychosocial and medical issues that arise in AYA cancer care; and
  3. To demonstrate the skills and strategies proven and needed to advance AYA cancer care.