Epidemiology in Saskatchewan

Epidemiology is the study of health and disease in human populations. Cancer epidemiology involves describing the distribution of cancer in a given population, seeking clues to the causes, assessing the likelihood and strength of suspected causes, and evaluating the effectiveness of preventive measures. This is achieved through monitoring new cases of cancer and cancer-related death.

Performance measurement involves identifying, collecting and analyzing performance indicators to assess and improve efficacy, efficiency and quality of programs.

The epidemiology department was established in 1995 and consists of epidemiologists, health information practitioners and a health economist. This team works to support departments within the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency across the cancer care continuum (prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, recovery or palliative and end-of-life care), in an effort to reduce the cancer burden among the Saskatchewan population.

The work of Epidemiology and Performance Measurement includes:

  • Cancer surveillance: collecting, analyzing, interpreting and communicating population-based cancer statistics in Saskatchewan
  • Cancer incidence and mortality projections
  • Screening programs: ongoing evaluation and monitoring of the screening programs for breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer
  • Health economic analyses: cost-utility analysis with calculation of quality-adjusted life-years and cost-effectiveness analysis, among others
  • Program evaluation and performance measurement
  • Statistical and epidemiological research support for clinical studies
  • Survey development, analysis and interpretation
  • Investigation of potential cancer clusters
  • Review of clinical documentation for data abstraction, database development and entry
  • Quality assurance for agency data submissions to national and international cancer care organizations