The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM) was founded as the Ontario Cancer Institute in 1952 by the Ontario government. In 1998, PM became part of the University Health Network, merging the oncology services of Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals with those of PM, making PM the largest comprehensive cancer programme in the country.
There are over 400,000 patient visits every year to PM. It houses 130 inpatient beds, including a 12-bed Acute Palliative Care Unit (APCU). It is also one of the largest comprehensive cancer treatment facilities in the world and the largest radiation treatment centre in Canada.
Our multidisciplinary, inter-professional teams offer people with common, rare and complex forms of cancer access to a range of innovative clinical programmes and research, including:
- Novel Phase I, II and III clinical trials
- Personalised medicine
- The latest developments in new cancer therapies, including immunotherapy and targeted therapies
PM is the largest centre treating leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma in Canada. The centre is a leader in building the capacity of healthcare centres across the province and nationally to treat people closer to home.
The Ontario Cancer Institute, the research arm of the PM, is one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world. Our Phase I programme is the largest cancer clinical trial programme in Canada and is one of the top-rated programmes of its kind worldwide. The PM Phase II Trial Consortium is one of seven sites – and the only non-US site – funded by the National Cancer Institute.
Areas of specialisation
The PM specialises in Medical Oncology and Haematology, Surgical and Radiation Oncology, organised into 12 site groups:
- CNS and Eye
- Head and Neck
- Lymphoma and Myeloma
- Melanoma and Skin
The centre also has a number of specialised clinical services, including:
- Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Programme
- Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic
- Pain Clinic
- Psychosocial Oncology
- Palliative Care Programme
- Survivorship Programme
Palliative and supportive care
Palliative and Supportive Care services form an important part of the care provided at PM and are combined in a single department, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care, with services available for inpatients, outpatients and family members. Our palliative care programme has six full-time, specialist-trained physicians, as well as specialist nurses, and a full range of Allied Health professionals. Our psychosocial oncology services include seven full-time psychiatrists, five psychologists and 13 site-specific social workers.
Approximately 1000 new referrals annually are seen in daily outpatient palliative care clinics, and early referral to palliative care services alongside active anticancer treatment has been widely embraced at PM. This has been supported by a randomised control trial of an early palliative care intervention at PM, published in The Lancet, which showed improved quality of life, satisfaction with care and symptom control associated with early referral to our palliative care clinics.
An inpatient consultation service provides daily physician and nurse-led palliative care for patients on the Medical Oncology, Haematology and Radiation Oncology units. We have a 12-bed acute palliative care unit, the Lederman Centre for Palliative Care, where patients are admitted for symptom management or end-of-life care. For patients who require longer-term inpatient palliative care support, we have a 10-bed residential hospice, Kensington Hospice.