Oncology Basics

The Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) is pleased to provide access to accredited online education programs that are directly related to the work of oncology pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy assistants.

Oncology Basics no padding

UPDATED as of April 2024

Oncology Practise Essentials, CAPhO's series of educational programs, will enhance your ability to practice in the field of oncology pharmacy. The first program, Oncology Basics, consists of five accredited self-study modules and provides:

  • A convenient resource for pharmacy practitioners new to oncology
  • An up-to-date refresher for experienced practitioners

Oncology Basics (content updated in April 2023 and CCCEP accredited until April 2025) is accessible to CAPhO members at no charge and is available for purchase by non-members.

Oncology Basics is a fundamental overview of different aspects of oncology therapies and their toxicities, so it could be of benefit to any learner new to the pharmacy oncology field. It is targeted towards pharmacists (as opposed to for example technicians or assistants), however the content is of value to all pharmacy learners who are interested in oncology therapies. The content is at a level of understanding that is relevant to any pharmacist or pharmacy student regardless of degree. If a learner has no pharmacy background at all, they may find some of the content challenging to follow in certain sections (for example, the class breakdown of therapies or the mechanisms of actions).

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Module Overview | Accreditation | Contributors


Overview

Oncology Basics Module 1

Module 1: Introduction to Cancer and Principles of Treatment

This module will provide you with an introduction to the characteristics of cancer, the basic strategies used to characterize and classify cancers and the basic biology of cancer cells. It will also explore treatment goals, modalities and strategies. An overview of the different types of antineoplastic drugs, their use, dosing, and administration schedules will also be provided. Key terms related to cancer, staging and treatment will be defined.

Oncology Basics Module 2

Module 2: Cytotoxic Chemotherapy and Toxicities

This module will introduce you to different classes of cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs – their pharmacology, indications, toxicities, administration properties and key drug interactions. It will give you the background to discuss treatments knowledgeably with patients and other members of the healthcare team. Drugs selected for inclusion in this module were based on those reviewed by a national drug review process.

Oncology Basics Module 3

Module 3: Hormonal Manipulation

This module will introduce you to the pharmacology of endocrine therapies. It will give you the background to discuss hormonal treatments knowledgeably with patients and other members of the healthcare team.

Oncology Basics Module 4

Module 4: Targeted Therapies Part 1 – Small Molecules

This module will focus on small molecule targeted therapies. It will give you the background to discuss targeted agents knowledgeably with patients and other members of the healthcare team. Small molecule targeted therapy toxicities will also be discussed.

Oncology Basics Module 5

Module 5: Targeted Therapies - Part 2 – Monoclonal Antibodies

This module introduces you to the pharmacology of targeted therapies, specifically monoclonal antibodies. It will give you the background to discuss targeted agents knowledgeably with patients and other members of the healthcare team. Toxicities associated with monoclonal antibodies will also be discussed.

OBaiscs Module 6 Image

Module 6: Immunotherapy Agents

This module will introduce you to the pharmacology of immunotherapies. It will give you the background to discuss immunotherapies knowledgeably with patients and other members of the healthcare team. An overview of the common toxicities of these agents will also be discussed.


Accreditation

CCCEP accreditation

The Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy has accredited this program for a total of 9.0 CEUs.

Expiration Date: April 29, 2025

  • Module 1: 1.5 CEUs
  • Module 2: 2.0 CEUs
  • Module 3: 1.2 CEUs
  • Module 4: 1.9 CEUs
  • Module 5: 1.2 CEUs
  • Module 6: 1.2 CEUs

Total: 9.0 CEUs


Contributors

The material for Oncology Basics was originally developed by Alberta Health Services, and it was purchased and adapted by CAPhO in July 2011. In 2014, it was updated to reflect advances in oncology pharmacy. In 2023, it is now in its forth edition. Oncology Basics is an educational initiative that is a product of the efforts, resources and time of many people.

Oncology Basics Forth Edition (2023) Contributors

Photo of Melanie Danilak
Photo of Melanie Danilak
Melanie Danilak
Assessment Developer, Pharmacy, Alberta College of Pharmacists — Edmonton, Alberta
Photo of Melanie Danilak
Melanie Danilak
Assessment Developer, Pharmacy, Alberta College of Pharmacists — Edmonton, Alberta
Photo of Scott Edwards
Photo of Scott Edwards
Scott Edwards
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Pharmacy, Eastern Health — St.John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Scott Edwards is currently the Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist at the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Center in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He is also an assistant professor at the School of Pharmacy and the Discipline of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland. He is active in clinical cancer research in the area of chemotherapy toxicities, supportive care and oral chemotherapy adherence. He graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a B.Sc. (Neuroscience) in 1994 and a B.Sc (Pharmacy) in 1997. In 2005, he graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Washington. He completed a Master’s degree in Oncology from Newcastle University in 2015.
Module 3 Author
Photo of Scott Edwards
Scott Edwards
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Pharmacy, Eastern Health — St.John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Erin Francis
Pharmacist, Extend Pharmacy — Saint Lambert, Quebec
Erin Francis
Pharmacist, Extend Pharmacy — Saint Lambert, Quebec
Gabriel Gazze
Pharmacist, Pharmacy, MUHC - Royal Victoria Hospital — Anjou, Quebec
Gabriel Gazze
Pharmacist, Pharmacy, MUHC - Royal Victoria Hospital — Anjou, Quebec
Photo of Marc Geirnaert
Photo of Marc Geirnaert
Marc Geirnaert
Director of Provincial Oncology Drug Program, Pharmacy, CancerCare Manitoba — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Marc Geirnaert graduated from the University of Manitoba with his Bachelor of Sciences in Pharmacy in 2002. Marc is a Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP) and received his FCAPhO (Fellow of Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology) designation in 2023. Marc started working in oncology and hematology in January 2003 and has worked in a variety of clinics such as lymphoproliferative diseases, genitourinary and central nervous system tumors. Since June 2014, Marc is the Director of Provincial Oncology Drug Program at CancerCare Manitoba. Marc is also the current chair of the pan Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) Provincial Advisory Group. Marc’s interests include implementation of new therapies in oncology/hematology including immunotherapies and biosimilars.
Photo of Marc Geirnaert
Marc Geirnaert
Director of Provincial Oncology Drug Program, Pharmacy, CancerCare Manitoba — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Photo of Nadine Glynn
Photo of Nadine Glynn
Nadine Glynn
Clinical Pharmacist, H Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, Eastern Health — St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Photo of Nadine Glynn
Nadine Glynn
Clinical Pharmacist, H Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre, Eastern Health — St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Photo of Naushin Hooda
Photo of Naushin Hooda
Naushin Hooda
Education & Residency Coordinator, Pharmacy, BC Cancer — Vancouver, British Columbia
Dr. Naushin Hooda currently serves as a Provincial Pharmacy Education & Residency Coordinator at BC Cancer and Clinical Instructor at the University of British Columbia. She currently holds a BSc (University of Toronto), PharmD (University of Waterloo), MPH (Johns Hopkins University) and GDip-Pharmacoepidemiology (Johns Hopkins University). Her research interests are in pharmacoepidemiology, comparative drug safety and effectiveness, statistical modelling, and knowledge translation with therapeutic interests in personalized medicine using innovative oncology treatments and biomarker analysis.
Photo of Naushin Hooda
Naushin Hooda
Education & Residency Coordinator, Pharmacy, BC Cancer — Vancouver, British Columbia
Photo of Nicole Kennedy
Photo of Nicole Kennedy
Nicole Kennedy
Provincial Systemic Therapy Manager, Pharmacy Services, Pharmacy, NL Health Services — Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Provincial Systemic Therapy Manager, Pharmacy Services
Photo of Nicole Kennedy
Nicole Kennedy
Provincial Systemic Therapy Manager, Pharmacy Services, Pharmacy, NL Health Services — Portugal Cove-St. Philip's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Photo of Kimberly Kuik
Photo of Kimberly Kuik
Kimberly Kuik
BScPharm
Pharmacy Professional Practice Leader, Pharmacy, BC Cancer — Victoria, British Columbia
Kimberly Kuik is the Pharmacy Professional Practice Leader at BC Cancer – Victoria. As the pharmacy leader, she is responsible for the pharmacy operations at her centre which include sterile product preparation, ambulatory oncology pharmacy activities, implementing new treatment options and support for clinical trials. Kimberly has been involved in many provincial BC Cancer Pharmacy Initiatives. She participated in the Oral Chemotherapy task force at BC Cancer and has special interest in developing follow-up protocols for patients on treatment at home. As well, Kimberly represented BC on the Clinical Operations Working group of the pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilar Initiative and served on the BC Cancer Biosimilars Steering Committee. Most recently, she was the Clinical Operation Lead for BC Cancer’s implementation of an IV Workflow Solution across its pharmacies.
Photo of Kimberly Kuik
Kimberly Kuik
BScPharm
Pharmacy Professional Practice Leader, Pharmacy, BC Cancer — Victoria, British Columbia
Photo of Michael LeBlanc
Photo of Michael LeBlanc
Michael LeBlanc
Clinical Resource Pharmacist, Oncology, Pharmacy, Horizon Health Network — Moncton, New Brunswick
Clinical Resource Pharmacist (Oncology) providing care for patients receiving oral anti-cancer therapies.
Module 4 Author
Photo of Michael LeBlanc
Michael LeBlanc
Clinical Resource Pharmacist, Oncology, Pharmacy, Horizon Health Network — Moncton, New Brunswick
Photo of Tara Leslie
Photo of Tara Leslie
Tara Leslie
Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, University of Alberta — Calgary, Alberta
Dr. Tara Leslie is a Clinical Associate Professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta. She is also the Director for the Certificate to Canadian Pharmacy Practice program. Tara teaches oncology related curriculum to learners in a variety of courses and programs with The Faculty and maintains a clinical practice in hematology at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary. Tara’s credentials include Board Certification in Oncology Pharmacy, a Masters of Education in Health Sciences Education and a post-professional PharmD. As part of Tara’s PharmD experiential education, Tara travelled to northern Uganda where she collaborated with pharmacy and oncology staff at St. Mary’s hospital to improve chemotherapy safety processes and deliver care to pediatric oncology patients.
Module 1 and Module 3 Author
Photo of Tara Leslie
Tara Leslie
Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, University of Alberta — Calgary, Alberta
Krista McKinnon
Clinical Research Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Alberta Children's Hospital — Calgary, Alberta
Reviewer
Krista McKinnon
Clinical Research Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Alberta Children's Hospital — Calgary, Alberta
Adrianne Shippam
Clinical Coordinator, Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre — Thunder Bay, Ontario
Adrianne Shippam
Clinical Coordinator, Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre — Thunder Bay, Ontario
Photo of Danica Wasney
Photo of Danica Wasney
Danica Wasney
Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, CancerCare Manitoba — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Module 4 Author
Photo of Danica Wasney
Danica Wasney
Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, CancerCare Manitoba — Winnipeg, Manitoba
Photo of Jennifer Voisey
Photo of Jennifer Voisey
Jennifer Voisey
Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Eastern Health — St. John's , Newfoundland and Labrador
Clinical Pharmacist working in Adult Outpatient Hematology in St. John's, NL.
Photo of Jennifer Voisey
Jennifer Voisey
Clinical Pharmacist, Pharmacy, Eastern Health — St. John's , Newfoundland and Labrador

Past Contributors

Oncology Basics Contributors in 2019 (Third Edition)
  • Kyla Bailey, BSP –
    Clinical Pharmacist, Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant, Pharmacy Services, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB
  • Scott Edwards, PharmD, MSc (Oncology) –
    Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist, Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre and Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy and the Discipline of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland
  • Jennifer Jupp, BScPharm, BCOP –
    Clinical Practice Leader, Hematology, Oncology and Transplant Program, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB
  • Michael LeBlanc, BScChem, BScPharm, PharmD –
    Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist, Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Horizon Health Network (The Moncton Hospital), Moncton, NB
  • Tara Leslie, BSP, BCOP, CEC Chair (2011 – 2017) –
    Clinical Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Calgary, AB
  • Krista McKinnon, BSP –
    Clinical Research Pharmacist, Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Alberta Children's Hospital, Pharmacy Services, Alberta Health Services, Alberta, AB
  • Sally Waignein, BScH, BScPharm, ACPR, PharmD –
    Provincial Pharmacy Education Coordinator, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC
  • Danica Wasney, BScPharm, ACPR, BCOP –
    Clinical Pharmacist, CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
  • Jason Wentzell, BScPharm, ACPR, BCOP, MHM –
    Pharmacist, Ottawa Hospital, Clinician Investigator, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and Assistant Adjunct Clinical Professor, University of Waterloo, School of Pharmacy, Ontario
Oncology Basics Contributors in 2014 (Second Edition)
  • Frances Cusano, BScPharm, ACPR –
    Clinical Practice Leader, Adult Cancer Care, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB
  • Melanie Danilak, BScPharm –
    Pharmacy Clinical Educator, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, AB
  • Tara Leslie, BSP, BCOP, CEC Chair (2011 – 2017) –
    Clinical Pharmacist and Clinical Assistant Professor, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Calgary, AB
  • Jennifer Jupp, BScPharm, BCOP –
    Clinical Practice Leader, Hematology, Oncology and Transplant Program, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB
  • Michael LeBlanc, BScChem, BScPharm, PharmD –
    Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist, Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Horizon Health Network (The Moncton Hospital), Moncton, NB
  • Thomas McFarlane, PharmD –
    Clinical Lecturer, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON
  • Sally Waignein, BScH, BScPharm, ACPR, PharmD –
    Provincial Pharmacy Education Coordinator, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC
  • Danica Wasney, BScPharm, ACPR, BCOP –
    Clinical Pharmacist, CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
Oncology Basics Contributors in 2011 (First Edition)
  • Rhonda Kalyn, BSP, CEC Chair (2008 – 2011) –
    Pharmacy Communities Oncology Network Educator, BC Cancer Agency, Kelowna, BC
  • Jennifer Jupp, BScPharm, BCOP –
    Clinical Practice Leader, Hematology, Oncology and Transplant Program, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB
  • Michael LeBlanc, BScChem, BScPharm, PharmD –
    Clinical Oncology Pharmacy Specialist, Clinical Pharmacy Manager, Horizon Health Network (The Moncton Hospital), Moncton, NB
  • Sally Man, BScH, BScPharm, ACPR, PharmD –
    Provincial Pharmacy Education Coordinator, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC
  • Lucie Surprenant, BScPharm., MSc., BCOP –
    Oncology Pharmacy Coordinator, St. Mary's Hospital Centre, Montreal, QC
Oncology Basics Project Support Team
  • Sea to Sky Meeting Management Inc., Administrative Support
  • Mark Stephens, Windward Design Group, Graphic Design