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Dr. Carman Giacomantonio, Chief Medical Director, Cancer Care Nova Scotia

Dr. Carman Giacomantonio Appointed Chief Medical Director

Cancer Care Nova Scotia is pleased to welcome Dr. Carman Giacomantonio to the newly created position of Chief Medical Director. As associate professor with the Departments of Surgery and Pathology, Dalhousie University, surgical oncologist with Capital Health and Chair of Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s Surgical Oncology Network, Dr. Giacomantonio has a strong track record as a respected leader, educator and clinician.

As the newly minted Chief Medical Director, Dr. Giacomantonio believes two areas are paramount for immediate and greater focus: enhanced data collection and analysis, which is the foundation for sound decision making and further development and implementation of clinical standards of care.

Like a road map, clinical standards for cancer care outline the best route, based on the most recent research and clinical practice, for treating a specific cancer. Clinical standards of care or practice guidelines ensure the best possible outcome for patients each and every time.

“Rectal cancer, for example, is a complex disease,” said Dr. Giacomantonio. “Fifteen years ago, patients who were diagnosed with this cancer had a 15-20 per cent chance that it would recur after being successfully treated. Today, in applying what we’ve learned through research and clinical practice, the recurrence rate has dropped to between 5 and 8 per cent. However, to ensure this outcome, a certain standard of care is necessary. For rectal cancer, this includes understanding the extent (stage) of the cancer at the time of diagnosis, timely access to surgery and in some cases, access to radiation therapy prior to surgery. In providing districts, physicians and all members of the care team with the right supports, such as clinical practice guidelines, we will ensure the best possible outcomes.”

Working in a co-leadership model, Dr. Giacomantonio and Theresa Marie Underhill, Chief Operating Officer since Cancer Care Nova Scotia’s inception in 1998, will work closely with one another to provide leadership and direction to staff, to continue building partnerships and linkages within the health system and to facilitate an ongoing dialogue of defining and refining the best ways for Cancer Care Nova Scotia to support health professionals in ensuring their patients have access to high quality, standardized and evidence-based care.

Cancer Care Nova Scotia has accomplished a great deal in its first 11 years,” said Dr. Giacomantonio. “Huge inroads have been made in areas including prevention and screening, Patient Navigation and chemotherapy standards. In my role, I will reflect on what and where we are as an organization today and work with districts to decide what and where we need to be to ensure that Nova Scotia cancer patients and families continue to receive the best care possible. These are exciting times and I’m anxious to officially begin working with Theresa Marie Underhill and the rest of the CCNS team.”


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