The Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care is composed of experts who develop evidence- based recommendations for clinical preventive health services delivered by Canadian primary care practitioners. The Task Force is supported by
the Global Health and Guidelines Division of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Evidence Review and Synthesis Centres from the University of Ottawa and the University of Alberta, and the Knowledge Translation Team from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
Message From the Chair
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2019! The Task Force recently made changes that we are excited to share with you.
In January, we published a commentary in Canadian Family Physician to give an overview of Task Force guideline development and to explain changes to our recommendation terminology. GRADE recommendations are now framed as “conditional”, rather than “weak” to emphasize shared-decision making between patients and healthcare providers in preventive health screening. We want to highlight the importance of having informed conversations about the harms and benefits of preventive health care interventions, including screening, and considering a patient’s own values and preferences when making a decision about engaging in preventive health care.
In keeping with the Task Force’s emphasis on shared decision-making, we used this new language in the recent guideline on screening for breast cancer in women not at increased risk. The College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Canada have endorsed the updated guideline and knowledge translation tools, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Cancer Society have officially supported them.
Dr. Deborah Korenstein of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, praised the guideline in a linked commentary also published in CMAJ.
Dr. Korenstein said “The new recommendations on breast cancer screening from the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care serve as a model for the important role of guidelines in promoting value in health care.” Compared with other international guidelines, the Task Force’s guideline “is alone among similar guidelines in noting in the main recommendation for all age groups that ‘the decision to undergo screening is conditional on the relative value that a woman places on possible benefits and harms.’
Links to media articles featuring the guideline are included in the new “Task Force in the News” section below.
As always, we appreciate your interest in the Task Force. If you would like to contribute, please see the “Get Involved” section below, and stay-up-to date by visiting www.canadiantaskforce.ca.
Brett Thombs, PhD
Chair, Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care
See the recent CMAJ commentary Clinical practice guidelines and the overuse of health care services: need for reform (March 18, 2019) for more information about specialty bias, conflict of interest, the Task Force’s breast cancer screening recommendations
Upcoming Task Force clinical practice guidelines include:
- Screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma
- Screening for thyroid dysfunction
- Screening for depression during pregnancy and the postpartum period
For more information about these and other forthcoming guideline topics, please visit the Upcoming Guidelines webpage.
To ensure that primary care providers have the chance to learn about the Task Force, our clinical practice guidelines, and other activities, we exhibit at several conferences annually. Attendees can request free copies of knowledge translation tools, ask questions, and make suggestions. In 2019, please join us at:
- Choosing Wisely National Meeting
May 27, 2019 (Montreal)
- Congrès annuel de médecine
October 29-30, 2019 (Montreal)
- Family Medicine Forum
October 30-November 2, 2019 (Vancouver)
Visit the Task Force website to download patient and clinician tools for the updated Breast Cancer Screening guideline
Task Force in the News
Task Force members
- Dr. Eddy Lang: Many doctors have distorted perceptions of the value of medical tests (CMAJ News, January 15, 2019)
- Dr. Guylène Thériault: Two QMA members receive a Prix Profession Santé (Québec Medical Association, January 2019)
- Dr. Nav Persaud: He’s been called a ‘lethal force’ who’s not afraid to take on medical authorities. And it all started with pain week (Toronto Star, December 6, 2018)
Breast Cancer screening guideline
- To decide on breast cancer screening, women must be armed with the right information (The Globe and Mail)
- Canadian doctors urge women to weigh pros and cons of breast cancer screening (Reuters)
- Women don’t need rigid breast cancer screening schedule: new guidelines (The Globe and Mail)
- Dépistage du cancer du sein: nouvelles directives avec l’accent sur les valeurs et préférences des femmes (le Journal de Montréal)
- Mammographie: une décision partagée (La Presse)
- Changes to breast cancer screening guidelines means more power – and more confusion – for patients (CBC)
(Click here to read more media stories)
- Guideline: screening for breast cancer in women aged 40–74 years who are not at increased risk, podcast interview with Dr. Ainsley Moore (via CMAJ)
- Lignes directrices : dépistage du cancer du sein chez les femmes qui ne sont pas à risque accru, podcast interview with Dr. Guylène Thériault and Dr. Roland Grad (via CMAJ)
- The Truth About Mammography, Renee Pellerin (via The Agenda with Steve Paikin)
- Do more screening tests lead to better health? Dr. Mike Evans (via Choosing Wisely Canada)
- The Little Known Truth About Mammograms: Adam Ruins Everything (via DailyMotion)
Get Involved with the Task Force
- We’re hiring! The Task Force is seeking a digital Community Manager to join our team in 2019. For more information, please see the job details posted on our website.
- Task Force Internship Program: The Task Force is committed to providing mentored training opportunities to Canadian health care trainees and early career professionals, including medical residents and fellows, nurse practitioner students, trainees in doctoral programs, and practicing health care professionals in the first 5 years of their careers. For more information please visit the Internship Program webpage.
- Clinical Prevention Leaders Network: The Network promotes the use of clinical practice guidelines and addresses barriers to guideline implementation at a local level through educational outreach and peer-to-peer learning. If you would like to be considered for the next cohort of CPLs, please visit the CPL Network webpage.
- Healthcare Practitioner Tool Usability Testing: The Task Force produces clinician knowledge translation tools to support healthcare professionals who use our guidelines. To ensure that the content, layout, navigation, and look of these tools are appropriate and useful, we conduct usability testing with clinicians. Participants are compensated for their time. For more information, please contact KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject line “Tool Usability Testing”.
- Guideline Development for Members of the Public: The Task Force engages patients and members of the public throughout guideline development. Patient feedback helps to guide the search for evidence on the harms and benefits of preventive health care interventions and to develop knowledge translation tools. Participants are compensated for their time. For more information, please contact KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject line “Patient and Public Engagement”.
- Guideline Topic Suggestions: Is there a preventive health topic that you would like guidance on? Let us know ideas for future guidelines topics by completing our online form.
- Newsletter Subject Suggestions: Is there a subject that you would like to see in the Task Force newsletter? Please send ideas to KTteam@canadiantaskforce.ca with the subject line “Newsletter Suggestion”.