​Goals of the Research Centre

​​​​​​​​The Princess Margaret Cancer Health Literacy Research Centre is focused on leading cancer health literacy and self-management research to enable providers, health care systems, and patients to work together to achieve better health.

Leads / Contacts

Janet Papadakos and Meredith Giuliani

The Princess Margaret Cancer Health Literacy Research Centre:

  • Conducts research to better understand the impact of health literacy, how it contributes to overall cancer self-management and health outcomes and what the implications are for health systems
  • Develops and evaluates interventions that aim to improve cancer care through health literate approaches
  • Fosters a community of education researchers who are committed to transforming cancer education for the future

Current conceptualizations of health literacy hold that health system factors, provider factors and patient factors contribute to a health literate population. Challenges associated with these factors provide the opportunity for research and the development of innovative approaches to contribute to a health literate cancer system. The Princess Margaret Cancer Program's Cancer Education Strategy articulates the vision of the Cancer Education Program and the goals within the strategy will be carried out in part, at the Cancer Health Literacy Research Centre.


Health Literacy Resources

​Health Literacy and Cancer

Challenges in health system factors, provider factors and patient factors can come with significant cost to health care systems and to patients. In cancer, the accessibility of services and subsequent navigation is complex, even for those with adequate health literacy.

  • Health care providers are not regularly trained to communicate using plain language and use other practices that can contribute to better engagement and activation.
  • At the patient level, despite an acknowledged need for patient and caregiver self-management, strategies to optimize engagement are not consistently used in practice.

Watch this video to learn what health literacy is, how it impacts health care, and what you can do to mitigate its effects.






​Health Numeracy Communication

Numerical concepts include arithmetic and use of percentages, as well as tasks like estimation, probability, problem-solving, and risk assessment.

Like low health literacy, poor numeracy skills are widespread and affect more than just those with lower income or less education. Factors such as emotional stress (perhaps from a recent diagnosis), lack of time or confidence, high demands for numeracy skills, or simply a dislike of math can affect understanding, leading to people feeling overwhelmed.

Health professionals and health systems communicate numerical information in complicated ways, which also increases the challenge for patients and families.

Watch this video of Dr. Tina Moore speaking about health numeracy and how it impacts health care.




​Additional Resources

Last reviewed: 2/24/2021
Last modified: 7/21/2021 9:20 AM