About Looking Forward
As people with cancer finish active treatment and look towards returning to everyday life, it is very common for them to have questions about their recovery. There may also be uncertainty about next steps. Recovering from cancer treatment isn’t only about recuperation; it is also about healing—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The Looking Forward program provides support and resources to help recovering cancer patients rebuild their lives and move forward after treatment. Support and resources are also offered for the families and caregivers of patients.
The Looking Forward program strives to respect the uniqueness of each recovery experience. We consider recovery to be a process fundamentally based on personal experience. The program highlights topics and issues that patient collaborators have identified as being important in the recovery process, and helps patients identify where to focus their attention in their own recovery. It was vital to us that people who have experienced recovery be part of the collaboration with healthcare professionals and researchers in developing the Looking Forward program. Former patients shared their perspectives, identified key priorities, and collaborated on the design and format. It is our firm belief that because of their engagement, this program will be a practical and relevant source of information.
Rosana Faria, L.Ps.
Principal Investigator, Dept. of Oncology, St. Mary’s Hospital Centre
Susan Law, Ph.D.
Co-Investigator, St. Mary’s Research Centre
Looking Forward interactive website
The Looking Forward interactive website was made possible by generous funding from the CURE Foundation. We are so grateful to Diane Proulx-Guerrera and her team for understanding and supporting our vision for this resource. We would also like to thank Cynda Heward of St. Mary’s Foundation for her leadership in helping us propose the project.
Many thanks to Dr. Mary Jane Esplen of the University of Toronto, Dr. Donna Stern of St. Mary’s Hospital and Dr. Luis Souhami of the MUHC for their time and expertise in reviewing content. Thank you also to Lowell Gasoi for his knowledge and skill in helping us develop content. To our consultant Mona Magalhaes—thank you for always being available to answer our questions. We are grateful to Céline Bailey for her translation of the content and to Maïa Magalhaes-Filion for her research skills and for proofing the French. We would also like to thank Linda Tracey for helping bring this project to life with the web team, for content development and for her overall coordination of the project.
And last but not least, to our team at Evolving Web—Suzanne, Rakhi, Annika and Diego—we literally couldn’t have done it without you. We thank you for your creativity and artistry, your professionalism, and for being an absolute pleasure to work with.
Original booklet series
We are grateful to the Rossy Cancer Network for their generous support in funding the original Looking Forward program. The Rossy Cancer Network (RCN) is a partnership of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and its affiliated teaching hospitals: the McGill University Health Centre, the Jewish General Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Center. Launched in 2012, thanks to a transformative gift from the Rossy Family Foundation, the RCN is a 10-year initiative to improve quality across the continuum of cancer care for patients in the McGill-affiliated hospitals. Among the RCN’s key priorities is improving the patient experience throughout their cancer journey. The Looking Forward initiative experience the transition to survivorship after treatment—a crucial phase in a patient’s cancer experience and one where more support is often required. The RCN is proud to support this initiative, which provides much-needed information and assistance to cancer patients who are adjusting to the ‘new normal’ in their lives following treatment.
We would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support of our other sponsors of the original Looking Forward program: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the User’s Committee of St. Mary’s Hospital Center. Special thanks to St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation for their ongoing support for research, education, and healthcare services. Thank you to St. Mary’s Research Centre for their continual support and to McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre.
The Looking Forward initiative would not have been possible without the patience, advice and support of patient collaborators who were research partners on this project. Particular thanks to Monique Ferland, Laurie Hendren, George Michaels, Danielle Potas, and Givette Volet for their feedback and invaluable insight. Thank you to the healthcare professional members of the Looking Forward research team: Rosana Faria (clinical psychologist in Oncology at St. Mary’s Hospital), Susan Law (principal scientist at St. Mary’s Research Centre), Tarek Hijal (radiation oncologist at the MUHC), and Joan Zidulka (oncologist at St. Mary’s Hospital). Thanks also to Mona Magalhaes (project coordinator) and Maud Mazaniello (bilingual communications specialist). Sincere thanks to Linda Tracey for her editing and layout expertise in the production of the booklets, and to Céline Bailey for editing the French version. We are grateful to Joel Montanez and William Langlais for their professional and technical expertise in the production of the introductory video. Thank you to Dr. Sylvie Lambert for sharing with us her work on the Coping Together self-management intervention that addresses the psychosocial needs of couples affected by cancer. The format for Looking Forward was greatly inspired by this series.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the patients who shared their experiences of treatment and life after treatment with us, and who worked with the healthcare professionals and research teams to select the topics included in the Looking Forward program. We feel honoured to have heard your stories. We are also grateful to the healthcare professionals for sharing their experiences of caring for people with cancer.
Our heartfelt thanks go to the oncology professionals who supported the development of materials and who offered their expert advice: Karine Gimmig (Cancer Care, SMHC), Marc Hamel (Psychosocial Oncology, MUHC), Sandra Grant (Cancer Care, SMHC), Nancy Moscato (social worker, MUHC), Maria Milioto (Cliniques d’Évaluation et de Réadaption), Janet Steinberg (Cancer Care, SMHC), Mei-Lin Yee (patient rights advocate) and Joan Zidulka (Oncology, St. Mary’s Hospital).
Meet the experts
Rosana Faria, psychologist
Rosana Faria is a clinical psychologist in the Dept. of Oncology at St. Mary's Hospital. Her research interests focus on improving patient experiences and psychosocial health outcomes for people with cancer and in cancer recovery.
Janet Steinberg, psychotherapist
Janet Steinberg holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from McGill University, as well as a post-graduate certificate in Couple and Family Therapy. She works at St. Mary’s Hospital with patients and families affected by cancer, and also has a private practice where she offers individual, couple and family counseling.
Maria Milioto, physiotherapist
Maria Milioto obtained a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy from McGill University in 1995 and an MBA from HEC Montréal in 2003. In 2018, she obtained her certification as a corporate director from Laval University. Her professional background testifies to her passion for the field of interdisciplinary rehabilitation and rehabilitation at work. Ms. Milioto has implemented an innovative return to work cancer program called Vitalité and has participated in research on disability in collaboration with Dr. Michael Sullivan of McGill University. She is a member of the board of directors of the Fédération des cliniques privées de physiothérapie du Québec (FPPPQ), in addition to her role as external vice-president.
Tarek Hijal, radiation Oncologist
Dr. Hijal is a radiation oncologist at the McGill University Health Centre. His clinical interests include breast cancer, colorectal cancer and hematologic malignancies. His research mainly focuses on decreasing treatment durations in breast cancer radiotherapy.
Joan Zidulka, oncologist (retired)
Dr. Zidulka was a hematologist-oncologist at St. Mary’s Hospital and an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and Oncology at McGill University. As a community-based oncologist she worked with all the common solid and hematological tumors.
Mei-Lin Yee, patient rights advocate
Mei-Lin Yee is currently completing a master's degree in law and health policy, with a specialization in patient rights. She also has almost 30 years experience in labour law and human resources management. As a result of her own cancer diagnosis, Ms. Yee now actively volunteers as a patient rights advocate, where she is able to use her personal and professional experience to their fullest.
Sandra Grant, dietitian
Sandra Grant is a graduate of the Faculty of Science at McGill University where she majored in Dietetics and Human Nutrition. She has worked at St. Mary’s Hospital for over 20 years and now specializes in cancer care.
Karine Gimmig, pivot nurse
Karine Gimmig received her nursing degree from the Université de Montréal. She has worked as a pivot nurse in cancer care, specializing in breast cancer and palliative care, at St. Mary’s Hospital since 2012.
Nancy Moscato, social worker
Nancy Moscato is a clinical social worker. She has been working at the McGill University Health Centre for over 20 years, the past 10 years in radio-oncology. Nancy provides resources, support and psycho-social care to patients, families and caregivers throughout the illness continuum and the recovery process. She has also acted as field placement co-coordinator for the MUHC social service adult sites for more than 8 years.
Marc Hamel, psychologist
Dr. Hamel is the clinical director of the psycho-social oncology program at the McGill University Health Centre, and provides psychological services to oncology patients and their families. His research interests include screening for distress, anxiety and depression, the fear of recurrence, and coping.