Proposed Consensus-Based Canadian Integrative Oncology Research Priorities

Laura Weeks, Dugald Seely, Lynda Balneaves, Heather Boon, Anne Leis, Doreen Oneschuk, Stephen Sagar, Marja Verhoef


Objectives: An increasing number of integrative oncology programs are being established across Canada that offer a combination of complementary and conventional medical treatments in a shift towards whole-person cancer care. It was our objective to identify consensus-based research priorities within a coherent research agenda to guide Canadian integrative oncology practice and policy moving forward.

Methods: Members of the Integrative Canadian Oncology Research Initiative and the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre organized a 2-day consensus workshop, which was preceded by a Delphi survey and stakeholder interviews.

Results: Eighty-one participants took part in Round 1 of the Delphi survey, 52 in Round 2 (66.2%) and 45 (86.5%) in Round 3. Nineteen invited stakeholders participated in the 2-day workshop held in Ottawa, Canada. Five inter-related priority research areas emerged as a foundation for a Canadian research agenda: Effectiveness; Safety; Resource and Health Services Utilization; Knowledge Translation; and Developing Integrative Oncology Models. Research is needed within each priority area from a range of different perspectives (e.g., patient, practitioner, health system) and that reflects a continuum of integration from the addition of a single complementary intervention within conventional cancer care to systemic change. Participants brainstormed strategic directions to implement the developing research agenda and identified related opportunities within Canada. A voting process helped to identify working groups to pursue strategic directions within the interest and expertise of meeting participants.

Conclusion: The identified research priorities reflect the needs and perspectives of a spectrum of integrative oncology stakeholders. Ongoing stakeholder consultation, including engagement from new stakeholders, is needed to ensure appropriate uptake and implementation of the Canadian research agenda.


integrative oncology programs;complementary and conventional medical treatments



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ISSN: 2291-918X, © McGill University Library