What is the CancerMaps project?

This page contains no sensitive information and is intended for a general audience. It provides an overview of the CancerMaps project.

It was written by Dr. Mac Thiessen on May 4 2023.

The CancerMaps project was started by Dr. Mac Thiessen MD MN FRCPC. Mac is a medical oncologist and researcher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Prior to starting the project, through his personal experience as well as his clinical and research work, Mac learned how important information is for people navigating the cancer journey. Importantly, he learned how challenging it can be to find information that is empowering and helps people minimize the negative impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on their lives.


Links to some of the previous research work that informed this project are linked at the bottom of this page.


  1. During doctoral work, conducted through the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary, Mac started the CancerMaps project. The project has two objectives: 

  2.       1) To facilitate research to improve the quality of information available to help those living with cancer
  4.       2) To generate informational resources informed by evidence based best practices for cancer content creation


The first CancerMaps project was conducted to better understand how individuals living with cancer, as either patients or supporters of a patient, use the internet to navigate the cancer journey. As part of this study, how web-based content could be better designed to better meet the needs of those living with cancer was explored. The findings of this study have now been published (see links below). The findings of the study add new insights into the important the role the internet plays in the lives of many living with cancer. Additionally, the study resulted in recommendations for creating web-based content to better serve those living with cancer as well as a template for guiding content creation.


Work building on the first CancerMaps project is currently underway. Funding has been obtained to extend the initial work to better understand how to create content regarding systemic anti-cancer therapy as well as for better understanding how to create directories of services and online resources so that individuals can better understand how to access the tools they need to support themselves through the cancer journey.


If you are interested in helping with this project or simply following please consider signing up for the CancerMaps newsletter using the sign-up form at the bottom of this page.

Publications from the first CancerMaps project: