October 26-27, 2023

A Warm Welcome from CCRAN’s President & CEO
Dear Friends:

On behalf of the Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network (CCRAN), welcome to our two-day symposium dedicated to bringing awareness to the rising rates of cancer in young adults, as inspired by the growing number of young patients seeking support, education, and advocacy throughout their advanced cancer journey.

In response to the positive feedback received from CCRAN’s recent pan-tumor Biomarker Conference, CCRAN has proudly expanded the scope of this fall symposium to include additional tumor types in which the rising incidence of early-age onset cancer (EAOC) is of concern.

CCRAN, along with our patient advocacy group partners representing other tumor types and expert participants will aim to address system-level challenges limiting early detection of EAOC with discussion through a value-based healthcare lens; stimulate discourse on optimal care and treatment pathways and the value of real-world evidence; present strategies to enhance the survivorship journey to ameliorate the EAOC patient’s quality of life; and improve awareness around the incidence and prevalence of EAOC.

CCRAN will gladly serve as a resource on each of these topics post symposium; hence, we welcome inquiries and outreach. We look forward to your online engagement on October 26th and 27th. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns regarding our symposium to Cassandra Macaulay at Cassandra.m@ccran.org


Filomena Servidio-Italiano

President & CEO, CCRAN
Conference Agenda
DAY 1:
Time Session Title Presenters/Speakers
8:30 a.m. –
8:40 a.m.
Symposium Day 1 Opening
Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D.
  • Welcome
  • Introduction to CCRAN
Symposium Moderator:
Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D.
Health Scientist, VBHC Expert, Chief Research Officer at CCRAN
8:40 a.m. –
9:00 a.m.
Welcome from CCRAN’s President
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
  • Calls to action from October 2022 Symposium
  • Objectives for this year’s Early-Age Onset Cancer Symposium
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
President & CEO, CCRAN
9:00 a.m. –
9:30 a.m.
Key Learnings from CCRAN’s 2021 and 2022 EAOCRC Symposia
Dr. Michael Raphael, Dr. Clarence Wong
  • Authors of publications produced from CCRAN’s prior Early Age Onset Cancer symposia will speak to the key messages and outcomes from these scientific events.
  • Updates on action items identified at last year’s Symposium will be shared.

Dr. Michael Raphael
GI Medical Oncologist, Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center

Dr. Clarence Wong
Gastroenterologist, University of Alberta
9:30 a.m. –
10:15 a.m.
The Global Trend in Early Onset Cancer
Dr. Tomotaka Ugai
  • Since the 1990s, an increase in the incidence of early-onset cancers has been documented globally.
  • Upward trends in early onset cancer diagnosis are documented across different cancer types, including breast, prostate, thyroid, colon, esophagus, kidney, liver, and pancreas.
  • The most common cancers vary by age group and sex.
  • Lead authors of the publication “Is early- onset cancer an emerging global epidemic? Current evidence and future implications” (Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, September 2022, 19(10):1-18) will deliver findings from their research and perspectives on the global trends in early-onset cancer from their clinical experience.

Dr. Tomotaka Ugai, M.D., Ph.D.
Instructor, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School;
Faculty Member, Cancer Epidemiology Program, Dana-Farber / Harvard Cancer Center
10:15 a.m. –
10:30 a.m.
Health Break
10:30 a.m. –
12:00 p.m.
System-Level Challenges to Accessing Screening and Timely Diagnosis for Early-Onset Cancers
Ms. Martha Raymond, Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A., Ms. Michele Wright, Ms. MJ DeCoteau, Ms. Teresa Norris, Ms. Elise Gasbarrino, Ms. Stefanie Condon-Oldreive
  • Patients with early-onset cancer face unique challenges throughout the entire cancer care continuum, from investigation and diagnosis, through treatment to survivorship or end-of-life care.
  • Leads from patient advocacy organizations representing individuals affected by lung, breast, cervical, ovarian, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers will speak to key challenges faced by young adult patients with respect to timely screening and diagnosis, including:
    • Needs of early onset patients
    • Uptake of screening among those over and under 50 years of age and strategies to promote screening programs.
    • Screening programs currently available to people under 50 in Canada (i.e., for cervical, breast, lung, colorectal cancers)
    • Intra- and inter-provincial differences in access to cancer screening for those under 50 years of age
    • Opportunities to scale successful screening programs (e.g., early detection program for ovarian cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital) and institute new programs where they currently do not exist.
  • Commonalities with respect to system-level access challenges across cancer types and opportunities for collective efforts to address common priorities and ensure early diagnosis will be discussed.
Patient Group Roundtable

Ms. Martha Raymond
Executive Director, GI Cancers Alliance Inc. (US)


Colorectal Cancer:
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
President & CEO, CCRAN

Lung Cancer:
Ms. Michele Wright
Patient Support Initiatives Coordinator, Lung Cancer Canada

Breast Cancer:
Ms. MJ DeCoteau
Founder & Executive Director, Rethink Breast Cancer

Cervical Cancer:
Ms. Teresa Norris
Founder and President, HPV Global Action

Ovarian Cancer:
Ms. Elise Gasbarrino
Founder + Executive Director
Pink Pearl Canada

Pancreatic Cancer:
Ms. Stefanie Condon-Oldreive, President & CEO, Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society
12:00 p.m. –
1:00 p.m.
Lunch Break
Video: Count Me In Project, Mary McGillicuddy, Manager, CMI Project Operations, Advocacy Groups, Count Me In
1:00 p.m. –
2:00 p.m.
Identifying and Addressing the Psychosocial Needs of Younger Cancer Patients Across the Continuum of Care
Ms. Marlie Smith, Dr. Abha Gupta, Ms. Jessica Dasler, Ms. Alyson Geary, Ms. Lindsay Hlushak, Ms. Joanna Kirsh, Ms. Teresa Holmes
Younger patients (under the age 50 years) are at a different stage in life and have unique concerns and challenges related to their cancer journey. In this session, patients afflicted with young-onset cancer will speak to their cancer journeys. This sharing of personal experiences will serve to highlight the unmet needs relevant to younger patients and the importance of a multidisciplinary care approach to adequately support this patient population. Through moderation, the session will provide insights on when and how the unique psychosocial needs of young adult cancer patients can be addressed, including their:
  • General wellbeing and quality of life
  • Stigma associated with a cancer diagnosis at an early age
  • Fears and anxiety surrounding toxic treatment options and long-term side-effects
  • Benefits of some novel treatment modalities in the context of psychological wellbeing
  • Apprehensions around initiating return to work and the fear of resuming a career
  • Worries around survivorship
  • Concerns around intimacy, sexuality, fertility preservation (i.e., sperm/egg banking) concerns, and challenges around raising a young family
Panel Session
Ms. Marlie Smith
Clinical Nurse Specialist, AYA Oncology Program at Princess Margaret Hospital

Dr. Abha Gupta
Medical Director, AYA Oncology Program at Princess Margaret Hospital


Colorectal Cancer Journey:
Ms. Jessica Dasler
Stage IV Colon Patient

Breast Cancer Journey:
Ms. Alyson Geary
Breast cancer survivor and Lead, Impact Partnerships, Support + Community Powered Projects, Rethink Breast Cancer

Lung Cancer Journey:
Ms. Lindsay Hlushak
Lung cancer survivor

Cervical Cancer Journey:
Ms. Joanna Kirsh
Cervical cancer patient

Cholangiocarcinoma Journey:
Ms. Teresa Holmes
Caregiver and Co-Founder, Hepatocellular Cholangiocarcinoma Canada
2:00 p.m. –
3:00 p.m.
From Detection to Diagnosis, Treatment and Survivorship: Tailoring Care to the Needs of Young-Onset Cancer Patients
Dr. Petra Wildgoose, Dr. Safiya Karim, Dr. Shaqil Kassam, Dr. Nancy Nixon, Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh, Dr. Ania Kielar
Recognition of the unique challenges of young-onset cancer patients point to the importance of tailored care models in effectively addressing those needs. Currently, for adult cancers, disease management and treatment protocols are the same regardless of patient age. The unique supportive care needs of young adult patients are not included in pediatric or adult care models.

Anxiety around accessing not only therapeutics, but also diagnostics, such as imaging, in a timely manner to help diagnose cancer in young patients is a critically important unmet need and psychosocial issue for young cancer patients.

It is pertinent to consider how clinical care can be optimized for the young-onset cancer population to attain better outcomes, enhance quality of life, and improve system efficiencies.

Clinical experts will provide perspectives and recommendations on how cancer care can be tailored to meet the specific needs of young adult patients. For example, through integrated models that enable care delivery at critical points in the cancer care trajectory. Issues, such as the long-term physical consequences of cancer treatment on this patient population, the tendency to overtreat in some young onset cancers, implications on general wellbeing, and opportunities for innovative therapeutic approaches will be discussed.
Panel Session
Dr. Petra Wildgoose
Family Physician and Lead, Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Program at Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Medical Oncologists:

Colorectal Cancer:
Dr. Safiya Karim
Medical Oncologist and Clinical Assistant Professor, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary; Medical Director, Integrative Oncology Clinic

Lung Cancer:
Dr. Shaqil Kassam
Medical Oncologist, Southlake Stronach Regional Cancer Centre

Breast Cancer:
Dr. Nancy Nixon
Medical Oncologist, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, AB

Gynecologic Cancers:

Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh
Medical Oncologist, Nova Scotia Cancer Centre & Dalhousie University

Radiology Perspective:
Dr. Ania Kielar
President, Canadian Association of Radiologists
3:00 p.m. –
3:15 p.m.
3:15 p.m. –
4:30 p.m.
How Do We Achieve Timely Diagnostic Testing? What is the Role of Real-World Evidence?
Mr. Don Husereau, Pharm MSc., Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D., Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh, Dr. Aaron Pollett, Ms. Sylvie Bouchard
Earlier diagnoses can be key to improving cancer outcomes, including survival, for some cancers, such as melanoma, colorectal and cervical cancers. As such, cost-effective, population-based approaches to early detection drive value in healthcare for patients, healthcare providers, and systems. There are barriers to achieving equitable access to strategies (e.g., advanced diagnostics) that enable timely diagnoses. Furthermore, policy and regulatory decisions around access to screening and diagnostic testing are driven by robust analyses of costs and benefits, but availability of reliable data is often a limitation.

In this session, experts will speak to:
  • The role of advanced diagnostics, including comprehensive genomic profiling (CGP), circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), and diagnostic imaging, that enable timely management and optimal treatment pathways for early onset cancer.
  • Systemic factors that lead to diagnostic access issues.
  • The role of evidence in decision-making around screening strategies, diagnostic pathways and technology assessments.
  • The value, utility and acceptance of real-world evidence, including patient reported outcomes, in decision-making and promoting access to timely diagnosis.
Panel Session

Mr. Don Husereau, Pharm MSc.
Health Economist, School of Medicine, University of Ottawa


VBHC Expert:
Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D.
Health Scientist, VBHC Expert, Chief Research Officer at CCRAN

Medical Oncologist:
Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh
Nova Scotia Cancer Centre & Dalhousie University

Dr. Aaron Pollett
Anatomic Pathologist, Division of Diagnostic

HTA Perspective:
Ms. Sylvie Bouchard
Director, INESSS

Health System Perspective
4:30 p.m. –
5:25 p.m.
Accessing Clinical Trials for the Management of Advanced Disease Across Multiple Tumor Types
Dr. Dawn Richards, Ph.D., Dr. Stephanie Michaud, Ph.D., Dr. Eric Chen, Mr. Allen Chankowsky, Mr. Jim Palma
Patients want to know how to manage their disease once they exhaust standard of care therapies. Clinical trial experts will discuss opportunities presented to cancer patients through clinical trials as well as the associated benefits to Canadian healthcare.

In this session speakers will share information about how patients can navigate the clinical trials landscape, including resources that are available for them to access to help inform thoughtful discussions with their treating oncologists.

A cancer patient testimonial will inspire this discussion and a U.S. based foundation will share their work in this space to provide insights on how access to clinical trials is being facilitated in the U.S. landscape.

Dr. Dawn Richards, Ph.D.
Founder of Five02 Labs Inc. (Clinical Trials Finder in Canada) and Director of Patient and Public Engagement at Clinical Trials Ontario

Dr. Stephanie Michaud, Ph.D.
President BioCanRX

Dr. Eric Chen
GI Medical Oncologist, Clinical Trials Investigator
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Mr. Allen Chankowsky
Rare cancer patient with lived experience

Mr. Jim Palma
Executive Director, TargetCancer Foundation
5:25 p.m. –
5:55 p.m.
Current and Future Research Directions for Early-Onset Cancers
Dr. Shuji Ogino
Opportunities for research and care delivery models to close the evidence gaps and advance the fight against early-age onset cancers will be addressed with a focus on:
  • Raising awareness of observed trends among professionals and the public
  • Addressing specific supportive care needs (including but not limited to returning to work, mental health, communication with children around cancer and financial stress) across the whole patient journey: at diagnosis, during treatment and as part of survivorship care
  • Run more longitudinal cohort studies in the future where we follow the same cohort of participants over the course of their lives, collecting health data, potentially from electronic health records, and biospecimens at set time points.
  • Collection and utility of real-world data to inform policies aimed at improving timeliness of diagnosis and management of early-onset cancer.

Dr. Shuji Ogino
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
5:55 p.m. –
6:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks. Glance at Day 2. Thank You.
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
President & CEO, CCRAN
DAY 2:
Time Session Title Presenters/Speakers
8:30 a.m. –
8:40 a.m.
Symposium Day 2 Opening
Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D.
  • Welcome
Symposium Moderator:
Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, Ph.D.
Health Scientist, VBHC Expert, Chief Research Officer at CCRAN
8:40 a.m. –
9:00 a.m.
Welcome from CCRAN’s President
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
  • Welcome & Recap of Day 1
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
President & CEO, CCRAN
9:00 a.m. –
10:00 a.m.
Understanding the Impact of a Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis: Considering the Patient Journey Across Disease Stages
Ms. Cassandra Macaulay, Ms. Atoosa Rashid, Ms. Armina Ligaya, Mr. Steve Slack, Ms. Hayley Painter
Patients and survivors of colorectal cancer will present salient points from their patient journeys. What supports and information were helpful and at what point in their cancer journey, what experiences were detrimental, what barriers they encountered and how they were or were not able to overcome them. Experiences meaningful to patients (that made a difference to their journey and outcomes) will be elaborated on.

The importance of measuring patient-reported symptoms, experiences, and outcomes will be discussed, along with how they can be addressed in routine care.
Panel session

Ms. Cassandra Macaulay
Senior Manager of Programs & Education, CCRAN

Patient Panel:

Stage II colon cancer survivor:
Ms. Atoosa Rashid

Stage III rectal cancer survivor:
Ms. Armina Ligaya

Stage IV colon cancer patient:
Mr. Steve Slack

Stage IV rectal cancer patient:
Ms. Hayley Painter
10:00 a.m. –
11:00 a.m.
Identifying and Addressing the Unique Needs of Younger Colorectal Cancer Patients
Dr. Petra Wildgoose, Dr. Marko Yurkovich, MD, Ms. Suzanne Wood, Dr. Rob Rutledge, MD, FRCPC, Dr. David Gurau, Ms. Cassandra Macaulay
Younger patients (under the age 50 years) are at a different stage in life and have unique concerns and challenges related to their CRC journey. This session will address the unmet needs relevant to younger patients to highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary care approach required to properly support this patient population. A model of care excellence, namely a clinic dedicated to early age onset colorectal cancer that is operating with great success at Sunnybrook Hospital, will be discussed and opportunities for scaling it across Canada explored. Panelists will address the young adult colorectal cancer patient’s:
  • Overall wellbeing and quality of life;
  • Support systems, resources and educational opportunities for patients and their family members;
  • Fears and anxiety surrounding toxic treatment options;
  • Benefits of some novel treatment modalities in the context of patients’ psychosocial wellbeing;
  • Intimacy, sexuality, fertility preservation (i.e., sperm/egg banking) concerns, and challenges around raising a young family; and
  • Evidence-based programing that patients can access to help them make informed decisions and participate in shared decision-making with their treating oncologist.
Panel session

Dr. Petra Wildgoose
Family Physician and Lead, Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Program at Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Patient Experts:
Dr. Marko Yurkovich, MD
Primary care physician and stage IV colorectal cancer patient

Ms. Suzanne Wood
Professional, young mother, metastatic cancer patient

Radiation Oncologist:
Dr. Rob Rutledge, MD, FRCPC
Radiation Oncologist at the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre, at the QE II Health Centre and CEO and Chair of the Healing Cancer Foundation

Fertility Expert:
Dr. David Gurau
Obstetrician and Reproductive Endocrinologist, Generation Fertility

Patient Support Program Lead:
Ms. Cassandra Macaulay
Senior Manager of Programs & Education, CCRAN
11:00 a.m. –
11:15 a.m.
Health Break
11:15 a.m. –
12:15 p.m.
Advancements in Colorectal Cancer Diagnostics and Treatments: The Role of Comprehensive Genomic Profiling (CGP)
Dr. José Perea, Dr. Christopher Lieu, Dr. Emina Emilia Torlakovic
Advancements in colorectal cancer diagnostics (e.g., biomarker testing, genomic profiling, circulating tumor DNA) are pertinent to the selection of precision medicines for the management of young onset colorectal cancer. Clinical experts practicing in different healthcare landscapes (US, Europe and Canada) will share their perspectives on opportunities for:
  • Promoting awareness, education and application of innovations for improving treatment in stage IV cancer patients;
  • Improving patient access to diagnostics and treatments in the metastatic setting;
  • Increasing the uptake and utility of CGP as an eventual standard of care; and
  • Highlighting a national initiative for improving biomarker development, quality assurance, and access to high quality testing for precision medicines.
International Presentations

Dr. José Perea
Colorectal Surgeon, Surgery Department, Jimenez Diaz Foundation University Hospital, Madrid, Spain

Dr. Christopher Lieu
GI Medical Oncologist, University of Colorado Hospital

Dr. Emina Emilia Torlakovic, MD, Ph.D.
Head, Division of Hematopathology at SaskHealth
Founder and Director, Canadian Biomarker Quality Assurance (CBQA)
12:15 a.m. –
12:45 p.m.
Preventing Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer through Earlier Screening Programs for Hereditary Syndromes
Dr. Kim Ma
While the majority of cases of early-onset cancers appear to be sporadic in nature, access to genetic testing in relevant cases is imperative, as germline mutations can still occur and have wider implications for cancer management and surveillance for the affected patient and their family members.

Lead clinician from a hereditary cancer clinic at a centre of excellence will present on the importance of genetic counseling, psychosocial supports and guidance in integrated patient care. The role of hereditary screening clinics will be discussed as well as current barriers for patients accessing this optional screening. The distinction between germline and somatic gene mutations will be made, including their differential impact on treatment and survivorship.

Dr. Kim Ma
Medical Oncologist, Segal Cancer Centre at Jewish General Hospital
12:45 p.m. –
1:45 p.m.
Lunch Break
Video: Count Me In Project, Mary McGillicuddy, Manager, CMI Project Operations, Advocacy Groups, Count Me In
1:45 p.m. –
2:45 p.m.
Improving the Diagnosis and Management of Hereditary Colorectal Cancer
Dr. Petra Wildgoose, Dr. Michael Raphael, Dr. Usmaan Hameed, Ms. Laura Palma
This session will focus on the needs of young cancer patients with a hereditary syndrome, on the ideal care pathway for this patient population, and on the systemic gaps and challenges that preclude care delivery that would lead to best possible health and wellbeing outcomes.

Experts will speak to:
  • Diagnostic and management care pathways for colorectal cancer patients with or at increased risk of a hereditary syndrome.
  • Healthcare services and support systems currently available to help improve the diagnosis and management of disease.
  • Unserved needs of this patient population, both for previvors (patients with a newly identified inherited gene mutation) and newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients who tested positive for a hereditary cancer syndrome.
  • Advantages of specialized early-age onset cancer clinics, with respect to provision of medical care and psychosocial support to help alleviate the fears and anxiety that typically accompany a diagnosis of an inherited form of cancer.
  • Learnings and evidence from implementation of a model for a one-of-a-kind early-age onset cancer clinic in Ontario.
Panel Session

Dr. Petra Wildgoose
Family Physician and Lead, Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Program at Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


Lynch Patient Expert:

Medical Oncologist:
Dr. Michael Raphael
GI Medical Oncologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Surgical Oncologist:
Dr. Usmaan Hameed
North York General Hospital

Genetic Counselor:
Ms. Laura Palma, MSc, CCGC, CGC
Certified Genetic Counsellor, Medical Genetics
Assistant Professor, McGill University
2:45 p.m. –
3:45 p.m.
The Treatment of Early-Stage Disease
Dr. Chris Hiller, Ph.D., Ms. Catherine Mason-Mifsud, Dr. Usmaan Hameed, Dr. Aparna Parikh, Dr. Andrea Cercek
Clinical experts will highlight therapies that are being used to manage early-stage disease. They will discuss considerations pertinent to treatment decision-making, including:
  • Employment of minimally invasive surgical therapies in the management of early stage disease to ensure patients resume their active and busy lives raising children and demanding careers
  • The potential avoidance of chemoradiation and surgery in the MMR-D setting of an early-stage rectal cancer diagnosis that could instead be substituted with immunotherapy;
  • The use of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in the post-surgical setting to detect minimal residual disease; and
  • Additional innovations for improving the cancer treatment journey for early-stage disease in young-age onset colorectal cancer patients.
Panel Session

Dr. Chris Hiller, Ph.D.
Survivor of Stage II Rectal Cancer


Patient Expert:
Ms. Catherine Mason-Mifsud
Stage II Rectal Cancer Survivor

Surgical Oncologist:
Dr. Usmaan Hameed
North York General Hospital

Medical Oncologist (US):
Dr. Aparna Parikh
GI Oncologist, Director, MGH Cancer Center's Global Cancer Care Program, Massachusetts

GI Medical Oncologist:
Dr. Andrea Cercek
GI Oncologist, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
3:45 p.m. –
4:45 p.m.
The Role of the Microbiome in Gastrointestinal Cancers
Dr. Sharlene Gill, Dr. Pavlina Spiliopouolou, Dr. Anna Spreafico
Altered microbiome composition (oral and intestinal) contributes to tumour development and thereby likely to the rising global trend in early-onset cancer. Of the 14 early-onset cancer types with a rising incidence, eight (those of the colorectum, oesophagus, extrahepatic bile duct, gallbladder, head and neck, liver, pancreas and stomach) relate to the digestive system, indicating the potential pathogenic role of the microbiome in cancer risk.

Nutrition (e.g., the Western diet), lifestyle factors and antibiotic use can lead to microbial alterations that increase disease risk and contribute to the development of cancer (as well as other chronic diseases). Obesity, smoking, and alcohol, for example, are all established risk factors for pancreatic cancer and have also been linked with early-onset disease. The microbiome also has a significant pathogenic role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is an established risk factor for CRC; the incidence of IBD has been increasing in adolescents since the 1980s. Our diet feeds the microorganisms in our gut and directly influences microbiome composition across the lifespan.

The early-life microbiome is known to influence the development of the immune system, and research investigating tumour–microbial–immune interactions is emerging. Early life exposures (i.e., perinatal period or childhood) to factors that alter the microbiome are also under investigation.

Experts on the role of the microbiome in the development of colorectal cancer will present on current evidence to provide insights on how this risk factor can be addressed effectively in young adult populations.
Panel Session

Dr. Sharlene Gill
GI Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency


Dr. Pavlina Spiliopouolou(presentation)
Clinical Research Fellow at the Princess Margaret Hospital

Dr. Anna Spreafico
Head and Neck Medical Oncologist, Princess Margaret Hospital and Site Lead and Clinician Investigator within the Tumor Immunotherapy Program
4:45 p.m. –
5:45 p.m.
The Treatment of Advanced Stage Disease: Improving Patient Outcomes through Surgical Resection
Dr. Marcelo Cypel, Dr. Gonzalo Sapisochin, Dr. Paul Karanicolas, Dr. Anand Govindarajan
Accessing surgical therapies to help improve the management of metastatic colorectal cancer: Treatments such as liver, lung, and peritoneum-directed therapies are improving the patient’s journey and outcomes by way of survival and quality of life. This session will speak to liver and lung directed therapies such as: Hepatic Arterial Infusion Pump Chemotherapy, In Vivo Lung Perfusion, Living Donor Liver Transplant and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy to treat metastases that originate from the colorectum.

Dr. Marcelo Cypel
Thoracic Surgical Oncologist, UHN

Dr. Gonzalo Sapisochin
Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgical Oncologist, Toronto General Hospital

Dr. Paul Karanicolas
Hepatobiliary Surgical Oncologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Dr. Anand Govindarajan
Surgical Oncologist, Mount Sinai Hospital
5:45 p.m. –
6:15 p.m.
Nutritional Guidelines for Supporting the Patient’s Cancer Journey and Symptom Management
Ms. Felicia Newell, RD, MSc
The specific needs of young cancer patients are not being met, partly because their unique care and treatment needs are not recognized. This session will examine opportunities to optimize nutritional care by focusing on:
  • Nutrition needs during and after treatment
  • Promoting a healthy relationship with food
  • Nutrition support for symptom management
  • Nutritional considerations in the setting of LARS, partial bowel obstructions, and stomas.

Ms. Felicia Newell, RD, MSc
Registered Dietitian
6:15 p.m. –
6:30 p.m.
Closing remarks for Day 2 and Symposium. Thank you.
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, M.A.
President & CEO, CCRAN
Adverse event: An unwanted and usually harmful occurrence following treatment.

Biomarker (biological marker): Genes, proteins and other biological molecules that can be measured objectively. Biomarkers represent a cancer’s unique “fingerprint” and provide prognostic information related to treatment response. Also referred to as: tumor testing, tumor genetic testing, genomic testing, genomic profiling, molecular testing, molecular profiling, somatic testing, or tumor subtyping.

Budget impact analysis: Used to estimate the impact of adding a drug, device, or procedure to a public formulary or budget, based on cost and the number of people likely to receive treatment within a specific period of time.

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH): An independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada’s health care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in our health care system.

CADTH pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR): Reviews cancer drugs and makes reimbursement recommendations to Canada's public drug plans and provincial cancer agencies.

Clinical practice guideline: This is an evidence-based statement and recommendation that helps health care professionals and patients make decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.

Comprehensive Genomic Profiling (CGP): A next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach that uses a single assay based on a liquid or tissue biopsy to assess hundreds of genes including relevant cancer biomarkers to inform treatment selection and monitor therapeutic response.

Cost-effectiveness analysis: This type of analysis is used in economic evaluations to compare treatments that differ in the magnitude of their outcomes; outcomes are expressed in natural terms such as life-years gained or adverse events avoided.

ctDNA (circulating tumour DNA): Small fragments of DNA that are shed by a tumor into the bloodstream.

Disease-free survival (DFS): The length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment that patients diagnosed with the disease survives without signs or symptoms of that cancer. It is often used as a measure in clinical trials for oncology drugs to find out how well a treatment works.

EQ-5D (EuroQol 5-Dimensions) questionnaire: This measures health-related quality of life determined by an individual’s level of functioning on 5 aspects of health: mobility, self- care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression.

Genomic medicine: The use of laboratory-based biomarkers that measure the expression, function and regulation of genes and gene products to aid healthcare decision making and scientific discovery. Also referred to as advanced testing, genetic testing, and genome-based testing.

Genomic profiling: A laboratory method that uses a sample of tissue, blood, or other body fluid to learn about all the genes in a person or in a specific cell type, and the way those genes interact with each other and with the environment. Genomic profiling may be done to find out why some people get certain diseases while others do not. Genomic profiling may also be done on tumor tissue to look for mutations or other genetic changes in a tumor's DNA.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA): Used to systematically evaluate the direct and intended effects of a health technology (i.e., new drug, medical device, or other medical technology) as well as its indirect and unintended consequences. Undertaken to assess whether these effects drive sufficient benefit to patients and wider society, relative to their cost, and to help others make a decision on a technology’s use or purchase.

Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS): INESSS provides Quebec’s health care decision-makers with objective evidence on the adoption, use, and public-plan coverage of technologies, medications, and interventions; and develops guides to clinical practice for their optimal use.

Liquid biopsy: An emerging technology that detects genomic information in bodily fluids, primarily cell-free DNA in blood, and could alter traditional pathways of care for cancer. Liquid biopsies could shift existing approaches that rely on surgical biopsies, for example, toward less invasive testing technologies. The technology is based on growing evidence that among certain cancers and tumour cells can release DNA into bodily fluids.

Minimal residual disease (MRD): A small quantity of cancer cells remaining in the body following treatment. Measured to assess treatment response and monitor for progression.

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS): An advanced technology which permits the sequencing of millions of fragments of DNA or RNA in parallel to determine genetic variations associated with cancer.

Notice of Compliance (NOC): The NOC authorization is given by Health Canada when regulatory requirements are met, allowing a pharmaceutical company to market a drug in Canada.

Notice of Compliance with Conditions (NOC/c): Authorization given by Health Canada when the pharmaceutical company agrees to do more research to show that its drug helps patients.

Notice of Non-Compliance: This notice is given by Health Canada to the pharmaceutical company after an application has been reviewed because it does not meet the conditions of the Food and Drugs Act and its Food and Drug Regulations.

Omics-based sequencing technologies: Precision medicine technologies based on whole genome (the entire DNA code of an individual), exome (the DNA code of all protein coding regions), and transcriptome (global gene expression as measured by RNA) sequencing. They characterize the complete or comprehensive set of molecular information of individuals’ cells and tissues. This approach is in contrast to targeted approaches that examine a limited number of genes, genomic areas, or proteins. The comprehensive nature of omics-based sequencing technologies allows for a single test to be performed at the onset of clinical presentation rather than a series of individual tests, helping to improve diagnostic information and possibly increase speed of diagnosis.

Overall survival (OS): The length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment that patients diagnosed with the disease are still alive. It is often used as a measure in clinical trials for oncology drugs to find out how well a treatment works.

Precision medicine / precision oncology: A personalized treatment approach utilizing targeted systemic treatment based on the genes and/or proteins driving the cancer.

Progression-free survival (PFS): Length of time after treatment that a person lives with cancer without the disease worsening. It is often used as a measure in clinical trials of oncology drugs to find out how well a treatment works.

Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO): Reports on or evaluations of outcomes obtained directly from about how they function or feel in relation to a health condition and its therapy, without interpretation of the patient’s responses by a clinician, or anyone else.

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs): Measurement tool(s) used to assess a patient's health status at a particular point in time patients (e.g., through interviews, focus-groups, conversations, self-completed questionnaires, diaries or other data collection tools such as web-based forms). PROMs tools can be completed either during an illness or while treating a health condition. Using pre- and post-event PROMs can help measure the impact of an intervention.

Real-world data (RWD): Data relating to patient health status and/or the delivery of health care routinely collected from a variety of sources. RWD can be derived from electronic health records, medical claims data, data from product or disease registries, and data gathered from other sources (such as digital health technologies) that can inform on health status.

Real-world evidence (RWE): is the clinical evidence about the usage and potential benefits or risks of a medical product derived from analysis of RWD.

Value-Based Healthcare (VBHC): A patient-centric approach for healthcare transformation focused on maximising the value of care for patients and reducing the cost of healthcare. It is grounded in the following equation:

VBHC Equation - Patient Value equals Costs per Patient to Achieve These Outcomes

The goal of value-based care transformation is to enable the health care system to create more value for patients. Because value is created only when a person’s health outcomes improve, promoting measurement of outcomes that are meaningful to patients and using these outcomes to inform care delivery is integral to VBHC.

Whole genome sequencing: Considers at all of the 20,000 genes in the body (human genome), compared to targeted gene sequencing, which examines a subset of 100-500 genes that are most likely to have been mutated.

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Steering Committee


Dr. Sharlene Gill, BSc, MD, MPH, MBA, FACP, FRCP(C) (Medical Oncology) - Co-chair

Dr. Sharlene Gill is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies at BC Cancer – Vancouver. She received a Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy and an MD from the University of British Columbia in 1996 followed by residencies in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. Dr. Gill subsequently completed a fellowship in Gl Oncology at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and a Masters of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. In 2017, she completed an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina. She is actively engaged in education and research, with over 120 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters to her credit. Dr. Gill serves as the Chair of the Canadian Clinical Trials Group (CCTG) GI Disease Site Committee and Chair of the UBC Department of Medicine Mentoring Committee. She is the Editor-in-Chief for Current Oncology and is the President of the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists. Her TEDx talk in 2022 on ‘How to Flip the Script on Cancer’ delivered her passion for patient advocacy and empowerment.


Dr. Michael Raphael, MD FRCPC - Co-chair

Dr. Raphael is a Medical Oncologist at the Odette Cancer Center at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center. His practice is dedicated to the care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. He completed his medical degree at Queen’s University and his internal medicine and medical oncology training at the University of Toronto. He then completed an advanced cancer health services research fellowship and a Master’s of Science (Healthcare Quality, Risk and Safety) at Queen’s University. His research focus is on population-based cancer care. His research aims to identify ways to optimize the coordination and delivery of cancer care services, and to describe gaps in care, disparities in access to treatment, uptake of cancer therapies, and real-world toxicity and effectiveness. His research has already influenced practice guidelines globally and led to a new quality metric that is routinely captured by Cancer Care Ontario (“time to initiating adjuvant chemotherapy”). He is also a valued member of CCRAN’s Scientific & Medical Advisory Board.


Dr. Petra Wildgoose, MD FRCPC - Co-chair

Dr. Petra Wildgoose is a Family Physician with a specialization in Oncology. She is the lead of the Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, where she addresses the physical, psychological, social, and lifestyle concerns unique to this patient population, and provides long-term survivorship care. She also works in the division of General Surgery as a surgical assistant in colorectal and hepatobiliary oncology. She received her certification in Family Medicine from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2018, and prior to this, completed two years of residency training in General Surgery. She also has specific interests in both mental health and the care of young adults. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Adolescent Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and previously worked as an inpatient physician at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Her current interests are looking at the application of mindfulness-based interventions in improving the quality of life of young adult colorectal cancer patients. She is thrilled to be involved with CCRAN to promote awareness of early-age onset colorectal cancer.


Dr. Christopher Lieu MD

Dr. Lieu joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty in 2011. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Colorado, where he also served as a Chief Medical Resident. Dr. Lieu completed his fellowship training in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and served as the Chief Medical Oncology Fellow in 2010. Dr. Lieu currently serves as the co-Director of GI Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, the Vice-Chair of the National Cancer Institute Colon Cancer Task Force, the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC), and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Panel for Neuroendocrine Cancers.


Dr. Clarence Wong MD FRCPC

Dr. Wong is a gastroenterologist and Associate Professor with the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Alberta. He is an Attending Staff gastroenterologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, University of Alberta Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute. He holds a BSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary and a MD degree from the University of Alberta. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology having completed medical residency at McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Alberta. During his training, Dr. Wong was awarded research fellowships from both the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology for translational research in Experimental Oncology. He has also completed a fellowship in endoscopic ultrasound and is a therapeutic endoscopist focusing on gastrointestinal cancers. He is the medical director of the Edmonton Endoscopic Ablation Program which treats Barrett’s esophagus and early upper gastrointestinal tract cancers. He is currently the Section Lead for Gastroenterology in the Edmonton Zone for Alberta Health Services. His research interests include clinical and laboratory innovations in colon cancer screening and Barrett’s esophagus. He received funding from AHFMR and Alberta Innovates. Dr. Wong is a Past-President of the Alberta Society of Gastroenterology. He has received regional and national teaching awards for excellence in medical education including Endoscopy & Teacher of the Year from the UofA GI Residency Training Program, the University of Alberta Medical Students’ Association Teacher of the Year Award, the Canadian Association of Medical Education (CAME) Certificate of Merit, and the University of Alberta Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.


Dr. Dan Schiller MD FRCPC

Dr. Dan Schiller is a Surgical Oncologist and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta with an interest in Gastrointestinal Oncology and Sarcoma. He is currently the Site Lead for General Surgery at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the Chair of the Royal College Specialty Committee in Surgical Oncology, and past Residency Program Director at the University of Alberta. Dr. Schiller completed his medical school at the University of Western Ontario, his General Surgery Residency at the University of Alberta and his Surgical Oncology Fellowship at the University of Toronto.


Dr. Darren Brenner Ph.D

Darren Brenner is a cancer epidemiologist who leads a program of research at the University of Calgary focused on using big data and precision health analytics to examine cancer risk and outcomes. He has over a decade of experience conducting observational and intervention research on chronic disease risk and survival. In recent years, Darren has led several large multi-centered analyses of observational datasets as well as numerous systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses in the oncology space. He was the co-lead of the Canadian Population Attributable Risk of Cancer (ComPARe) project that was a comprehensive set of analyses examining the current and future burden of cancer in Canada related to all known modifiable cancer risk factors. In 2019 he was selected as the co-recipient of the Canadian Cancer Society’s William E. Rawls Prize recognizing a young investigator whose outstanding contributions have the potential to lead to or have already led to important advances in cancer control in Canada.  Darren also serves as the Academic Advisor on the Canadian Cancer Statistics Steering Committee and on the OncoSim advisory committee for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.

Darren completed his PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Toronto followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization in Lyon, France. To date he has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in leading journals in the areas of oncology and epidemiology.


Dr. Marko Yurkovich, BSc, MD, CCFP, ABOM

Dr. Yurkovich completed his medical school and residency training at the University of British Columbia. He’s been practicing family medicine in downtown Vancouver since 2016, mainly focussing on Primary Care, Obesity Medicine, Weight Management, and Preventative/Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Yurkovich recently obtained his American Board of Obesity Medicine (ABOM) fellowship certification and is actively accepting patient referrals for Obesity & Weight Management.

Dr. Yurkovich is constantly disocvering new ways to optimize human health. Along with his interests in Dermatology, Medical Aesthetics and Hair Restoration, he also has a passion for teaching. He is currently working as a Clinical Instructor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine.


Dr. Mary De Vera Ph.D

Dr. De Vera is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences where she holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair. She holds a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Health Care and Epidemiology. An epidemiologist and health services researcher her research program spans pragmatic studies in real-world settings and population-based studies using administrative databases to study patient experiences with disease and treatments, particularly in rheumatology and oncology. She brings the patient perspective to her research with her own experiences of being diagnosed with young-onset colorectal cancer.


Dr. Mary Jane Esplen Ph.D

Dr. Mary Jane Esplen is Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, former Clinician-Scientist at University Health Network and founded de Souza Institute – a National Centre of education for oncology health professionals. She has held Career Scientist awards from CIHR and NCIC for psychosocial oncology research, completing studies of psychotherapeutic treatments to support adjustment to being diagnosed with cancer or receiving genetic risk information in breast, colorectal or pancreatic cancer. Other areas of research include studies addressing body image among cancer survivors or the management of grief and loss. Dr. Esplen gives numerous workshops and keynotes and has received several awards, including the lifetime achievement award from Canadian Association Psychosocial Oncology and the Bernard Fox Memorial Award from International Psycho-oncology Society.



Dr. Aaron Pollett, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Dr. Aaron Pollett is the Provincial Head, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Program at Ontario Health - Cancer Care Ontario (OH-CCO). He is an Anatomic Pathologist and Co-Director of the Division of Diagnostic Medical Genetics at Mount Sinai Hospital and an associate professor in the department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Pollett has a specialty interest in gastrointestinal pathology and pathology informatics with a master’s degree from the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto. He is the review pathologist for the Familial Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry (FGICR) and the Ontario Familial Colon Cancer Registry (OFCCR), tumour-based registries constructed to analyze the genetic basis of gastrointestinal cancers. In his various roles, Dr. Pollett oversees the molecular analysis of solid cancers as well as the development and implementation of new molecular biomarkers.


Dr. Abha Gupta, MD, MSc, FRCPC

Dr. Abha Gupta received her MD at the University of Toronto. She completed her pediatrics residency at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (New Haven, CT) and Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa) before moving back to Toronto to complete her fellowship in paediatric hematology/oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children. To complement her training, Dr. Gupta completed a one-year fellowship in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology with a focus on sarcoma. She is currently cross-appointed as a staff oncologist at both The Hospital for Sick Children and Princess Margaret Hospital.

Dr. Gupta’s primary clinical and research interests include sarcoma, adolescent and young adult oncology. She is the Medical Director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program at Princess Margaret. Here she is working with a team of people to create the infrastructure to ensure consistent and high quality delivery of information and services to young people with cancer.

Dr. Gupta is also the founding medical director of CanSaRCC, the Canadian Sarcoma Research and Clinical Collaboration, and is interested in clinical trials for sarcoma and desmoid.


Mr. Allen Chankowsky

Allen Chankowsky is an author, international speaker, sales promotion marketing expert, and 31-year cancer survivor who is currently surviving a rare form of stage-4 cancer. As the author of his best-selling and multi-award-winning book, On the Other Side of TERMINAL, Allen hopes to share his incredible story of survival by inspiring readers with an enduring message of hope and resilience in the face of a life-shattering diagnosis.

Allen credits his survival to the love and tireless support of his girlfriend Cynthia and their four children. He’s committed to raising awareness about cancer and helping other survivors find the strength they need to reclaim their lives from illness. He has been invited to speak at major international cancer events - most recently as the keynote speaker at TargetCancer Foundation’s 2022 gala. He was also invited to be the patient keynote at a precision medicine conference where he presented to world leaders in cancer research, molecular pathology and oncology. Allen has appeared in a television commercial in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, a movie theater trailer, referenced in national and international news publications.

Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Allen currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In his spare time, he can be found winning backgammon tournaments at the United States Backgammon Federation, where he won the Intermediate Division at the 2021 US Open. For more information about Allen and his work, visit his website at: AllenChankowsky.com


Ms. Alyson Geary

Alyson Geary is the Lead, Impact Partnerships, Support + Community Powered Projects where she helps drive revenue and awareness for the mission, supports the healing and psychosocial programs for breast cancer patients and works closely with the community and volunteers on various events and projects.

Aly is a builder, fascinated by ideas and is always looking for connections. Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for over two decades – from academia to healthcare – and having experienced breast cancer personally at a young age, Aly is very driven by the Rethink mission and passionate about making a difference.

When Aly is not working, she keeps busy by renovating her 150-year-old century home in the country, hiking in the forest with her dogs or dreaming of her future goat and donkey farm!


Dr. Anand Govindarajan, MD, FRCSC

Dr. Anand Govindarajan is a surgical oncologist at Mount Sinai Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, associate professor at the University of Toronto and adjunct scientist at IC/ES. He is also the provincial clinical lead for Survivorship at Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario).

He completed medical school and a residency in general surgery at the University of Toronto, and a clinical fellowship in surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In addition, he has completed a Master's of Science through the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Dr. Govindarajan’s clinical practice involves the care of patients with gastrointestinal cancers with a significant focus on peritoneal-based malignancies. He is a co-author on Canadian and US guidelines on management of peritoneal-based malignancies. His primary research focus is to study and narrow the gaps between current practice and best evidence in the treatment of these diseases. He too is a valued member of CCRAN’s medical and scientific advisory board, helping to keep CCRAN abreast in the management of colorectal peritoneal metastases.


Dr. Andrea Cercek, MD

Dr. Andrea Cercek is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC), appendix cancer, and cholangiocarcinoma. Her research is focused on the development of novel systemic and regional therapies, including approaches based on tumor genomics, with the goal of improving outcomes while minimizing treatment-related toxicities.

She is the founder and co-director of the Center for Young Onset Colorectal and Gastrointestinal Cancer. This clinic — the first of its kind in the world — is dedicated solely to the specific needs of people under 50 who have CRC or other GI cancers.


Dr. Anna Spreafico, MD, PhD

Dr. Spreafico is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and Clinician Investigator in the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.

Her previous training includes a PhD in translational research in the Program for Evaluation of Targeted Therapies at the University of Colorado, USA, and a subspecialty fellowship in experimental therapeutics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Spreafico serves as the Head and Neck Medical Oncology Disease Site Lead and Director of the Phase I Drug Development Fellowship at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Dr Spreafico is involved in national and international Steering Committees, including the CCTG Head and Neck Disease site and IND Executive Committee and the US NCI rare tumor task force, and serves a Co-Chair of the NRG Oncology Recurrent/Metastatic H&N Cancer Working Group. Dr. Spreafico's full-time academic practice and research include early phase clinical trials, with disease-specific interests in skin/melanoma, and head and neck cancers. Her translational research focuses on immuno-oncology-based, microbiome and cancer interception-driven studies and she leads as PI, CCTG, NRG and NCI CTEP early phase investigator-initiated clinical trials.


Dr. Aparna Parikh, MD MS


Ms. Armina Ligaya


Ms. Atoosa Rashid


Ms. Cassandra Macaulay, BSc, MHS, RTNM


Dr. David Gurau, MD, FRCSC

Dr. David Gurau earned his medical degree (MD) in 2011 from The University of Western Ontario. He completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology (Ob/Gyn) at The University of Toronto in 2016 and subsequently completed a fellowship in Gynecologic Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (GREI) at McMaster University in 2018. Dr. Gurau is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC Ob/Gyn, GREI).

Dr. Gurau is the author of several publications on a range of topics in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and medical education.

Dr. Gurau works at Generation Fertility with offices in Vaughan and Newmarket, Ontario. His scope of practice includes all areas of reproductive medicine including fertility treatment and fertility preservation.


Dr. Dawn Richards, PhD


Mr. Don Husereau, BSc, Pharm, MSc

Don Husereau is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at The University of Ottawa.

He does freelance health care research, and works with private and public sector life sciences organizations to help them understand the value of health technology and its implications for health and innovation policy.


Dr. Emina Emilia Torlakovic, MD, PhD, FCAP


Dr. Eric Chen, MD, FRCPC


Miss Erin Ranger, RPN

Erin is a registered practical nurse with training and expertise in the operating room.

She has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, telehealth and most recently, in the non-profit sector. Erin is committed to patient advocacy and is passionate about empowering patients through connection, support, education and awareness.


Mrs. Felicia Newell, MSc, RD


Ms. Filomena Servidio-Italiano, Hon B.Sc., B.Ed., M.A.

Filomena is the President and CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network (“CCRAN”) – a patient-focused organization championing the health and wellbeing of Canadians touched by colorectal cancer and others at risk of developing the disease. Her undergraduate and graduate work lie in the biological sciences and educational studies. As a caregiver to her father, who was afflicted with and succumbed to metastatic cancer, his journey has served as the impetus for the founding of CCRAN, one month post his passing in August of 2006.

The past seventeen years have been dedicated to the cause of supporting, educating, and advocating on behalf of colorectal cancer patients and caregivers, to improve patients’ quality of life and longevity through the provision of evidence-based information and access to innovative patient programs, such as CCRAN’s innovative “My CRC Consultant”, an online tool providing the metastatic patient with evidence-based and expert reviewed, potential therapeutic options based on the patient’s tumour’s molecular profile. She has been working closely with valued health care professionals across the continuum of colorectal cancer care to ensure content acumen. She is humbled to be published alongside world-renowned experts in areas such as colorectal cancer management, PROs and PROMs, early age onset colorectal cancer awareness and education, promoting national LDLT efforts, education on molecular profiling, and more.

Filomena is a strong proponent of HTA patient evidence submissions since the inception of pCODR, ensuring the patient voice is captured and well incorporated into her submissions. She prepares these submissions not only for colorectal cancer drug therapies under review, but within therapeutic areas for which there are no representative patient advocacy groups or on behalf of patient advocacy groups who may not have the capacity to make these critically important submissions. She strives to secure robust patient and caregiver participation to help identify patients’ unmet needs, as well as capture their fundamentally important values, preferences, and priorities with the goal of ultimately ensuring reimbursement of effective treatments based on thoughtful and compelling input. She continues to be a passionate advocate for the Canadian cancer patient and their caregiver.

The Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network (“CCRAN”) is a national, not for profit patient organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating on behalf of colorectal cancer patients and caregivers across Canada. It is a patient-focused organization whose programs are inspired by two patient advisory councils, one of which is dedicated to Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer (EAOCRC). Its members identify unmet patient needs to serve as the inspiration for the development of thoughtful and relevant patient programs to help improve the quality of life and longevity for patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer.


Dr. Gonzalo Sapisochin, MD, PhD, MSc, FRCSC


Ms. Hayley Painter, RN

Hayley Painter (she/her) lives in Caledon, ON with her husband and two young boys. In May 2021, after two months of vague GI symptoms, Hayley was diagnosed with a rectal adenocarcinoma with metastatic disease to the liver and probable lung. Having a background in healthcare, Hayley very quickly submerged herself into the colorectal world of oncology. Armed with current research rather than non-applicable statistics, Hayley threw herself into 15 months of aggressive treatment which included chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. Because of a fantastic medical team and a lot of hard work, Hayley is proud to say that she is tumour free today. Now the focus is on healing herself and her family from this emotional ordeal.

Throughout treatment, Hayley continuously found that the needs of those with early onset diagnosis were not always represented within the healthcare system. The priorities, and concerns of those who are younger often look different than an older demographic. For this and so many other reasons Hayley is proud to be working with CCRAN. Organizations such as CCRAN are vitally important to the Cancer patient as well as their families. For Hayley, it is all about the human connection and having accurate current information on the ready!


Ms. Jessica Dasler


Mr. Jim Palma


Ms. Joanna Kirsh


Dr. Jose Perea, MD, PhD, MSc


Dr. Kim Ma, MD, FRCPC

Dr Kim Ma completed her medical oncology and hematology training at McGill University before working in CISSS des Laurentides and Laval. She has been PI in multiple phase 3 clinical trials focusing on breast and GI malignancies as well as leading investigator-initiated trials in her centre.

She was chief of Optilab for 2 years where she gained insight into system management and optimizing trajectory of care. Since starting at the Jewish General Hospital, she is actively implicated in opening a new hereditary GI clinic focused on timely prevention and intervention in this at-risk population.


Ms. Laura Palma, MSc, CCGC, CGC


Ms. Lindsay Hlushak


Dr. Marcelo Cypel, MD, FRCSC


Ms. Marlie Smith, RN, MN


Ms. Martha Raymond, MA

Martha Raymond is the Founder/CEO of The Raymond Foundation and also serves as the Founding Executive Director of the GI Cancers Alliance.

For over thirty years, Martha has been a passionate and active advocate in the cancer community. She is a certified professional facilitator and serves as a frequent speaker and moderator for global oncology conferences and symposiums.  Martha also serves as an oncology consultant specializing in program development for clients in academia, pharmaceutical industry and advocacy.

Martha holds advanced graduate certifications in Integrative Medicine, Hospice Care, Palliative Care and Patient Navigation, and has published numerous research in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer. As a life-long learner, Martha is currently enrolled in the Non-Profit Management Executive Education program at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University.


Ms. Michele Wright, BA


Dr. Monika Slovinec D’Angelo, B.Sc., M.Ed., Ph.D.


Dr. Nancy Nixon, MD FRCPC


Dr. Paul J. Karanicolas, MD, PhD, FRCSC


Dr. Ravi Ramjeesingh, MD, Ph.D., FRCPC


Dr. Rob Rutledge, MD, FRCPC


Dr. Safiya Karim, MD MSc FRCPC


Dr. Shaqil Kassam, MD. MSc. FRCPC

Shaqil Kassam completed his Honours Bachelor of Science degree with a Minor degree in Medical Physics at McMaster University.  He then pursued a Masters in Radiation Biology and DNA repair similarly at McMaster University.   After completing undergraduate medical training at the University of Toronto, he then trained in Radiation Oncology for 2 years after which he completed his Fellowship in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at the University of Toronto.  During his Medicine and Oncology training, Dr. Kassam also continued his basic science research under the guidance of Dr. Gurmeet Singh at the Jurvinski Cancer Center, and also Dr. Robert Bristow at Princess Margaret Hospital- University of Toronto - for his research work Dr. Kassam received the University of Toronto's Department of Medical Oncology Resident research award.

Dr. Kassam is currently the Medical Director of research at the Southlake Regional Health Centre, where he has consolidated research activities at the Centre and also facilitates further research in the areas of Cardiology, Medicine and Intensive care.  He is also the head of Oncology Research at the Stronach Regional Cancer center - where he has brought several international Phase III randomized trials to the centre.  Dr. Kassam is currently the Primary Investigator on several open and in progress trials at the Cancer Centre.

Currently Dr. Kassam is a Staff Medical Oncologist at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre in Newmarket Ontario, specializing in the treatment of Thoracic, Gastrointestinal, Neuroendocrine and Genitourinary malignancies.  He is also the Skin cancer Lead Oncologist for the Centre and is also the Centre's Immunotherapy and NGS expert where he is instrumental in developing the Molecular diagnostics department at Southlake Regional Health Centre.


Dr. Shuji Ogino, MD, PhD


Mrs. Stephanie Condon-Oldreive, Bed, Med


Mr. Steve Slack


Ms. Suzanne Wood

Suzanne Wood was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer in July 2022 at the age of 45. She was diagnosed when liver metastasis were seen on a routine abdominal ultrasound during her annual executive health physical.  Her tumours were deemed resectable and she started on chemotherapy to shrink the tumours in preparation for surgery. She had a right hemicolectomy and a major liver resection in late 2022. Post surgery CT scans identified a large Krukenberg tumour on her right ovary and the tumour and both ovaries were removed in February 2023.  Suzanne underwent adjuvant chemotherapy, but unfortunately, subsequent scans identified numerous tumours in her lungs.  Suzanne underwent SBRT for one of those tumours.  Suzanne and her oncology team have used ctDNA tests to help guide her treatment plan.

Suzanne lives in Toronto with her husband and three sons. Prior to taking a healing sabbatical, she worked in law firm management.


Ms. Sylvie Bouchard, B. Pharm., D.P.H., M. Sc., M.B.A.

Sylvie Bouchard holds a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from Université Laval in Québec city (1988). She also has a diploma (1989) and a master’s degree (1992) in Hospital Pharmacy from Université Laval (Faculty of Pharmacy), and an MBA in Corporate Management (2001), also from Université Laval (Faculty of Business Administration).

Sylvie Bouchard was a hospital pharmacist and hospital pharmacy manager. She joined the Conseil du médicament in April 2010, where she has held various management positions over the years. Between April 2016 and January 2020, she headed the Direction du médicament. Since February 2020, she has headed the Direction de l’évaluation des médicaments et des technologies à des fins de remboursement.


Ms. Teresa Norris

Teresa Norris is a passionate Sexual Health Specialist with an expertise on Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and sexual health issues with over 17 years’ experience. She uses evidence-based communication methods and champions disease prevention strategies. She is also the President of HPV Global Action.

In 2006, Teresa founded HPV Global Action/VPH Action Globale, a bilingual registered charity offering forward-thinking research initiatives and programs in healthcare and academic settings and has developed synergies at different organizational and governmental levels evolving from local initiatives and up to the international stage.

Her focus is educating people of all ages about sex-positive and inclusive sexual and reproductive health, while emphasizing HPV and its potential consequences – which include nine preventable HPV-related cancers. With the support of her team and healthcare professionals across Canada and around the world, HPV Global Action is working to ensure countries offer equitable access to HPV prevention, cervical screening and access to treatment/care both in Canada and internationally.

Teresa is currently leading an international team that is putting forth a women-centred health implementation research project using integrated approaches to ensure sustainable systemic change for women in Sub Saharan Africa through a «one-stop shop» approach to offer women ranging 20-49 y.o. an opportunity to address their gynaecological needs during a two-hour visit, starting in Eswatini in September 2022. This project will be addressing four World Health Organization (WHO) 2030 objectives for disease control and elimination of: Cervical Cancer, Female Genital Schistosomiasis (FGS), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and treatment of Soil transmitted helminths.


Dr. Tomotaka Ugai, MD, PhD

Dr. Ugai is a faculty member at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School and an MD/PhD physician scientist with expertise in pathology, clinical oncology, cancer epidemiology, and molecular epidemiology.

His current research focuses on early-onset cancers and tumor biomarkers, including immune and microbial characteristics of cancer.

Dr. Ugai has recently founded the International Cancer Spectrum Consortium, an interdisciplinary working group with faculty, postdocs, and students from various institutions all over the world.

Dr. Ugai aims to build up a resource that integrates lifestyles and biomarkers including genetics and tissue molecular markers to (a) develop effective prevention and early-detection strategies, and (b) identify novel biomarkers to guide early-stage clinical decisions.

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