What is OncoSim?

Previously known as the Cancer Risk Management Model (CRMM), OncoSim is a validated web-based microsimulation tool that can evaluate cancer control strategies for prevention, screening and treatment of common cancers. This tool can create and compare the projected rates of cancer and cancer deaths, as well as the need for cancer care resources, direct health-care costs and other economic impacts, such as lost wages.

What is microsimulation?

Microsimulation is a modelling technique that uses real world data. While this isn’t new to cancer care or health-care, what is new is that these data are used to create simulations at the micro level—in this case,  for an individual person—that help make projections at the macro level or, in this case, for the whole country.

Why it’s a game-changer

The OncoSim outputs, like the number of cancer cases or costs to the health-care system, can be used to inform decision-making. OncoSim uses microsimulation to project the life of one Canadian at a time from birth to death. This is done by combining Canadian data, including demographic and economic data, to characterize that person’s life with cancer, if affected. This process is repeated to project millions of lives, which are then combined to produce population health and economic outcomes. Thus, OncoSim helps when data is lacking or where clinical trials or practice experiments are not feasible.

Current data predicting the future, changing the present

OncoSim is used to support evidence-based policy changes. The tool helps researchers, policy advisors and decision-makers to support their roles in the areas of cancer prevention, screening and treatment. And by using OncoSim, their policy changes can be based on projections of their future impact on outcomes, such as incidence, mortality, and economic burden. When faced with the challenge of how to spend tight health-care budgets, OncoSim can provide insight into the future to help answer key policy questions in cancer care.

The evolution of OncoSim’s data

OncoSim currently includes detailed microsimulation models for:

  • colorectal cancer
  • lung cancer, including smoking cessation effects
  • cervical cancer, including a model of HPV transmission and vaccination programs

In development are:

  • breast cancer (scheduled for public release in 2017)
  • all cancers in a group, with a focus on prevention and population risks (scheduled for public release in 2017)

Working for you

Whether you are involved in practice or policy for prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, palliative or end-of-life care, you can strengthen your efforts with OncoSim’s customized cancer control projections. This population-based model helps to assess the cost/benefit of various cancer control strategies by projecting their impact on Canada’s population health, health care system, and economic well-being — at any point in time, and for all provinces and territories — with this web-based platform.

OncoSim conceptual framework

OncoSim conceptual framework illustration

To read more about OncoSim in use, check out our latest resources.

Contact us

If you think OncoSim has potential to support your work in cancer control, contact us at Oncosim@partnershipagainstcancer.ca.

Last updated: April 28, 2017