Physicians play a significant role in the success of cancer screening programs. Evidence shows a positive relationship between physician recommendation for screening and patient participation in colorectal cancer, breast cancer and cervical screening.
Cancer screening letters are a key way to encourage people to get screened. Cancer Care Ontario offers physician-linked correspondence, which includes physicians’ names in their rostered patients’ cancer screening letters. The results of a 2-phase pilot study conducted by the ColonCancerCheck program demonstrated that physician-linked correspondence is an effective way to motivate eligible Ontarians to get screened for cancer. For more details on the study, please see the Physician-Linked Correspondence FAQs.
Physician-linked correspondence is available to all patient enrolment model physicians in the province for colorectal cancer screening and will expand to include breast and cervical cancer screening. This is why physicians are asked to enrol in physician-linked correspondence for all 3 cancer screening programs.
How to Enrol
Physicians are required to provide their consent to enrol in physician-linked correspondence. To enrol, fill out the consent form and submit it by fax, email or mail, as indicated in the form.
Physicians must sign their own consent form. However, a delegate can complete the rest of the information on the form for one physician or the forms for a group of physicians.
Physicians are required to provide their signature to show that they understand and acknowledge what they are opting into and their responsibility. Physicians are asked to provide consent for all 3 cancer screening programs at once. By doing so, they will automatically be enrolled when physician-linked correspondence expands to the Ontario Breast Screening Program and Ontario Cervical Screening Program. Communications about these expansions will be made available in advance.
The patients of physicians who participated in the pilot and have not yet re-enrolled began receiving generic versions of the letters (not including their physician’s name) in February 2016.
To re-enrol in physician-linked correspondence, physicians need to complete and submit the consent form again.
Benefits of Physician-Linked Correspondence
Physician-linked correspondence provides many benefits to physicians and screen-eligible Ontarians:
- Supports better patient care
- Maximizes the chances of early detection when cancer is easier to treat – e.g., when colorectal cancer is detected early, the likelihood of curing someone is 90%, but this decreases to 12% if detected at later stages 
- Saves the cost and time of calling or sending letters to patients
- Maximizes preventive care bonuses
Learn more about how participating in physician-linked correspondence helps physicians achieve cumulative preventive care bonuses.