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Cancer Care Ontario
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- Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation
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Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services since 1943 for Ontario residents.
Cancer Care Ontario was established in 1943 as the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation (OCTRF) after the implementation of the Cancer Act, earlier that year. The object of the Foundation was to centralize cancer care in Ontario by establishing and conducting a program of research, diagnosis and treatment in cancer, which included opening cancer clinics across the province. The first clinic opened at the Kingston General Hospital in 1947, and brought together many disciplines of cancer care under one roof including radiotherapists, cancer surgeons and specialists. By 1954 there were clinics in Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor and Port Arthur, and later on clinics were added in Toronto and Sudbury.
OCTRF was a leader in providing breakthrough cancer treatment for Ontario patients. In 1951, the world’s first commercial Cobalt-60 beam therapy unit was installed in London, Ontario and later on that year, London’s Victoria Hospital became the first to treat a patient with this technology, which involved gamma radiation from the Colbalt-60 isotope. OCTRF also established a therapeutic drug plan in 1960 in order to help those patients who could not afford expensive chemotherapy and other cancer treatment drugs.
OCTRF was also committed to developing and promoting cancer clinical trials in the province. In 1982 all of the cancer centres were brought together to create the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group, an affiliate organization which would focus on developing, coordinating and promoting cancer clinical trials throughout Ontario’s regional cancer centres and the Princess Margaret Hospital. The objective of this group was to conduct research that would impact on and improve patient care.
OCTRF also launched the first organized breast cancer screening program, the Ontario Breast Screening Program, in 1990. The program provides breast-screening services to women over 50 years old free of charge at screening sites across the province.
In 1996 the Ontario Minister of Health appointed a transition team to implement a new provincial framework for cancer care. This new framework included the transformation of the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation into Cancer Care Ontario, an agency with a stronger and more comprehensive mandate to improve cancer services across the province. The agency's name was officially changed on April 29, 1997 and took on the task of coordinating and integrating cancer treatment services.
Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is classified as an Operational Service agency of the Ontario Government and reports to the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. Continuing to operate under the Cancer Act, Cancer Care Ontario acts as the government’s principal advisor on cancer care with the mission to improve the performance of the cancer system by driving quality, accountability and innovation in all cancer-related services. CCO continues to run the Ontario Breast Screening Program as well as the Ontario Cervical Screening Program. CCO also monitors and reports cancer cases through the Ontario Cancer Registry, monitors wait times and other quality indicators, is responsible for initiatives like the New Drug Funding Program and assists other cancer providers in cancer care to create Regional Cancer Programs.
The Board of Directors, including the Chair and Vice-Chairs are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
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Archives of Ontario
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