04/16/2014 11:38 EDT | Updated 06/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Provinces join forces to measure distress of cancer patients, improve treatment

HALIFAX - Three provinces in Atlantic Canada are joining forces to measure the distress of cancer patients.

Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador have been awarded $1 million over three years from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer through Health Canada.

Dr. Janice Howes of Cancer Care Nova Scotia says the provinces have similar health delivery services, populations and a greater percentage of adults over the age of 65.

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will build on the Screening for Distress Program, asking patients about their health in four areas: anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain.

The team says it will develop education sessions to help patients deal with concerns, particularly after they have undergone treatment.

Newfoundland and Labrador will develop a distress screening program, which will include tracking whether patients receive the recommended treatment for distress.

The project will focus on the Cape Breton Cancer Centre, the Capital Health Cancer Care Program in Halifax, the Prince Edward Island Cancer Treatment Centre and satellite clinic, and Newfoundland and Labrador's Cancer Care Program.