The history of the Family Practice Oncology Network and its digital future

In 2003, the BC Cancer Agency launched the Family Practice Oncology Network (FPON) to provide oncology education, resources, and connections to strengthen family physicians’ ability to care for people living with cancer in their communities. In 2016, FPON expanded to become the BC Cancer Provincial Primary Care Program, with a multipronged mandate:

  • Bring the lens of primary care into the strategic work of BC Cancer.
  • Facilitate support for primary care providers through education.
  • Codevelop primary cancer care guidelines.
  • Advocate for clear lines of communication between primary care and oncologists to provide adequate resources to care for this complex population.

Our initial goal was to address the education and training needs for the implementation of general practitioners in oncology (GPOs) so every community with a catchment of 15 000 or more would have access to cancer treatment as close to home as possible through collaborative care with oncology specialists at a regional or provincial centre. The goal has expanded to provide twice-yearly GPO Education Sessions supporting new GPOs, nurse practitioners in oncology (NPOs), and residents in palliative care. Our annual GPO Case Study Day sees case-based, collaborative, interactive presentations by GPOs and oncology specialists on management topics relevant to GPOs and NPOs in regional cancer centres and community oncology sites throughout BC and Yukon. To promote interprofessional networking, GPO Case Study Day is offered as part of the BC Cancer Summit in November.

Educational activities (many in partnership with UBC CPD) for family physicians and members of the broader primary care team have expanded over the years to include:

  • Monthly primary care webcasts (8:00 a.m. on the third Thursday of each month except July, August, and December) with presentations on a variety of cancer topics.
  • An annual primary care CME day (next CME event 1 April 2023).
  • Twice-yearly production of the Journal of Family Practice Oncology (spring and fall).

The journal brings follow-up articles to many of our webinars and CME events as well as updates relevant to community primary care and their patients with cancer. We have also partnered with the Guidelines and Protocols Advisory Committee to develop a number of primary care cancer guidelines, most recently on lung cancer.

Since 2013, the journal has been distributed to 6500 family practitioners, nurse practitioners, and other primary care providers across BC and Yukon in hard copy. Beginning with the fall 2022 edition, the journal has moved to a digital-only format and can be found at, along with electronic copies of previous editions.

Sign up for the FPON communications database at have recently developed a database to improve our ability to communicate with community providers about the latest FPON news, educational updates, practice gems, and other BC Cancer primary care communications, including information on the electronic publishing of the journal. To subscribe, scan the QR code and sign up for our communications database.

Questions? Please contact us at
—Catherine Clelland, MD
Medical Director, Primary Care, BC Cancer


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Catherine Clelland, MD. The history of the Family Practice Oncology Network and its digital future. BCMJ, Vol. 64, No. 8, October, 2022, Page(s) 342 - News.

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