Carmen Loiselle, Ph.D.

Carmen Loiselle, Ph.D.

Under the scientific direction of Dr. Carmen Loiselle, Hope & Cope continues to be actively involved in several cutting edge projects that focus on the patient and family experience in cancer. Half a dozen projects have documented cancer-related needs across the life span from young adults, families with minor children and the elderly (70 +). Research on the patient/family experience is key to understanding the unique and shared perceptions and needs of those affected by cancer. The findings from these studies help tailor the care provided to patients and their loved ones.

Breast & Bone Health Program – A new multidisciplinary program focusing on bone health in breast cancer

Some women with breast cancer are at higher risk for osteoporosis, bone fragility and fracture due to the nature of their cancer treatments. From 2014-2017, Hope & Cope and the Segal Cancer Centre piloted a new program dedicated to promoting bone health in breast cancer.  This has been made possible through a generous grant from the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. The innovative Breast & Bone Health program was a team effort in which a physiotherapist and nurse worked together to navigate patients through research-informed activities to protect, improve, and care for bone health in an oncology setting. The program was led by Dr. Loiselle and her team (Lapointe, J., Dalzell, M. A., O’Brien, S., Lau, G.J. & Ibrahim, M.). It covered areas such as awareness raising, education, exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications. All of the tools developed through this program are available for downloading at  breastandbonehealth

Accessibility of personalized cancer information

Because of its wide accessibility, the internet has become a popular destination for individuals seeking cancer information. Unfortunately, information on the internet is not always reliable or relevant. Funded by CIHR, Dr. Loiselle and a team of researchers (Lauzier, S., Maunsell, E., Vuong, T., Lee, V., & Duschene, T.) embarked on a large randomized controlled trial to study the effects of the Oncology Interactive NavigatorTM, a high quality Canadian web-based cancer resource ( The research team has completed recruitment and data collection. The next step will be to analyze the data to examine how this online tool affects patients’ experience with cancer.

Unique patient populations

Through the course of cancer care, different patient populations have distinct needs. Dr. Loiselle worked with several nursing graduate students to explore and document patients’ unique experiences. One study looked at the perceptions of patients who receive special backpacks from VOBOC, a  foundation aimed to provide support for adolescents and young adults with cancer ( The second explored the experience of patients who used Hope & Cope’s CancerFight Club, a web-based resource geared to young adults ( Additional studies documented the experience of patients who face other major stressors in their lives, for instance,  individuals with cancer who also are raising young children and  patients with cancer who also are coping with other illnesses (such as diabetes and heart disease). Altogether, these studies help to highlight that each patient is a whole-person with unique challenges and needs

Arts-based knowledge translation

Conversations surrounding palliative and end-of-life care are challenging for patients, family members, and healthcare providers. To this end, Dr. Brenda Sabo from Dalhousie University is developed a play based on stories from people affected by advanced cancer. Emily Drake, former Young Adult Program Director for Hope & Cope, worked on this project with Dr. Sabo, and performances of the PEACE project were presented in the summer of 2017 for healthcare providers and the public in Halifax, Toronto, and at our Wellness Centre in Montreal. This project is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society

Louis Levesque Research Scholars

Fay Strohschein

Fay Strohschein is a doctoral candidate at McGill Ingram School of Nursing who is working with Dr. Carmen Loiselle and Dr. Howard Bergman. She is studying the process of cancer treatment decision-making among older men and women. In addition to support from the Hope & Cope Levesque Research Funds, Fay is funded by the Oncology Nursing Society Foundation, the Fonds de recherché du Québec-Santé, the Psychosocial Oncology Research Training (PORT) program, and the Quebec Network for Research on Aging (Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le vieillissement).

Jamie Penner

Jamie Penner is also a doctoral candidate at the McGill Ingram School of Nursing. She is working with Dr. Robin Cohen in the development and pilot testing of a home-based physical activity intervention for family caregivers of people with advanced cancer. Jamie is funded by doctoral fellowships from the CIHR, the Louis Levesque Research Funds, and the PORT program. She is also supported by a McGill Graduate Excellence Fellowship.

Select publications and presentations

Rashi, C., Wittman, T., Tsimicalis, A., & Loiselle, C.G. (2015). Balancing Illness and Parental Demands: Coping with Cancer While Raising Minor Children. Oncology Nursing Forum, 42(4), 337-344.

Loiselle, C.G., Peters, O., Haase, K.R., Girouard, L., Koerner, A., Wiljer, D., & Fitch, M. (2013). Virtual navigation in colorectal cancer and melanoma: An exploration of patients’ views. Supportive Care in Cancer, 21(8), 2289-2296.

Lau, G.J., Lapointe, J., Dalzell, M.A., Smirnow, N., Ibrahim, M., Beloff, E., Seguin, C., Tremblay, N., Duncan, L., O’Brien, S., Loiselle, C.G. (October 4, 2015). The Breast & Bone Health Program: A transdisciplinary model of care to proactively address bone health in breast cancer. Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology annual conference, Toronto, Ontario, October 4 – 7, 2015.

Edward, D., O’Brien, S., Robitaille, A., Sateren, W., & Loiselle, C.G. (2015) Living with advanced, metastatic cancer and end-of-life issues – adolescent and young adult unique perspectives. Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care conference, Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 29 – Nov. 1, 2015.

Loiselle, C.G., Sateren, W. (July 31, 2015).  Patients’ perceptions of cancer care in relation to their overall satisfaction in a large network of Canadian urban cancer centres.  World Congress of Psycho-Oncology.  From national to global: Implementing the standard of psychosocial care in oncology. International Psychosocial Oncology Society (IPOS) and American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) Conference, July 28-August 1, 2015. Washington, DC, USA.

Loiselle, C.G. et al. (2014, November) Better bones in breast cancer: Proactively addressing bone health in women with breast cancer. 2e Journée de la recherche en sciences infirmières Chantal‐Caron. Longueuil, Quebec, November 26, 2014.

Loiselle, C.G., Batist, G., Lambert, S. & Sateren, W. (2014). Accounting for patients’ cancer-related preferences in an era of personalized medicine and person-centred care: A promising convergence. 16th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy (IPOS 2014), Integrating psycho-oncology into mainstream cancer care: From research to action, Lisbon, Portugal October 20-24, 2014.

Penner JL, Dalzell MA, Ducharme F, Sabiston C, Cohen SR. (2015). Acceptability of a Home-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Family Caregivers of People with Advanced Cancer. Poster presentation at the European Association of Palliative Care Conference. May 8-10th, Copenhagen, Denmark. European Journal of Palliative Care Suppl.

Penner, J.L. (April 2014). Development of a Home-Based Physical Activity Intervention for Family Caregivers of People with Advanced Cancer. Oral Presentation at the 2014 Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology Conference: The Heart of the Matter Connecting Knowledge, Creativity, & Compassion, April 30 – May 2, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Strohschein, F. J., Schreiber, R. S., Bottorff, J. L., Ducharme, F., Bergman, H., & Loiselle, C. G. (2014, April). Coming to decisions about cancer treatment: Understanding processes among older men and women with colorectal cancer. Oral presentation at the Qualitative Cancer Research Conference, Berlin, Germany, April 28 – 29, 2014.

Strohschein, F. J., Schreiber, R. S., Bottorff, J. L., Ducharme, F., Bergman, H., & Loiselle, C. G. (2014, May). Understanding the meaning of age in cancer treatment decision-making among older men and women with colorectal cancer. Oral presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, Winnipeg, Canada, April 30 – May 2, 2014.

“Yesterday was the fourth survivorship day conference that we have attended. Both my husband and I agree that this was by far the best one. Not once did we look at the clock. We were captivated from beginning to end. I want to thank you, especially as my husband was diagnosed with cancer two months ago. He walked away from this conference with a positive feeling.”
Marcella and Robbie