Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD

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Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD

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Research Discipline(s): Nursing, Integrative Oncology

Primary Title: Associate Professor

Additional Titles & Affiliations: Deputy Director, Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids


Integrative Oncology, Cannabis, Psychosocial Oncology

Supporting individuals affected by cancer to make informed and safe treatment decisions.

Research Summary

My research programme has focused on “medicine at the margins” – the use of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) as well as more recently, medical and non-medical cannabis, by Canadians facing chronic health challenges, including cancer. This interest was sparked early in my nursing career when faced with questions from patients and family members about the potential benefits and risks of using treatment alternatives, such as natural products, acupuncture, or special diets. Unable to answer these questions due to the lack of CIM education I had received in my nursing program as well as the limited research focused on these types of therapies, I recognized an important gap in care and research.

My research programme has been guided by four key themes – psychosocial oncology, treatment decision-making, knowledge translation, and CIM. Specifically, most of the research studies I have conducted as a Principal Investigator have generated knowledge aimed at supporting people affected by cancer in making informed treatment decisions and in accessing evidence-based health care. I have held a special interest in developing knowledge translation strategies, including education and decision support interventions, that improve the uptake of evidence related to the safe utilization of CIM by individual living with cancer. This part of my research programme has been guided by three broad questions: 1) How do individuals with cancer make conventional and CIM treatment decisions?; 2) How can individuals with cancer be best supported in making safe and informed decisions about CIM?;and 3) What are the most effective knowledge translation strategies that will help move CIM evidence into oncology practice?


The long-term goal of my research program has been to shift the culture of conventional cancer care towards CIM and advance the uptake of CIM evidence so that ALL patients and families receive evidence-informed care and decision support related to CIM across the cancer experience.

Research Biography

Dr. Balneaves is a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Research in the College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Previously, she has held academic positions at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. Her research program has focused on the use of complementary therapies in the context of cancer and the development and evaluation of knowledge translation and decision support interventions for individuals living with cancer and oncology health professionals. She also engages in health policy and person-centred research related to medical and non-medical cannabis. She is a past president of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO).


  • 2023 - Award of Excellence, Nursing Research, Association of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (ARNM)
  • 2012 - Award of Excellence in Nursing Research, College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (CRNBC)
  • 2010 - CANO/ACIO Pfizer Oncology Canada Award of Excellence in Oncology Nursing Research, Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO/ACIO)
  • 2008-2013 - New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • 2004-2008 - Research Scientist Award, Canadian Cancer Society (CCS)
  • 2023 - Dedicated Service Award, Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA)
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    Featured Publications

    • Carlson, L. E., Ismaila, N., Addington, E. L., Asher, G. N., Atreya, C., Balneaves, L. G., Bradt, J., Fuller-Shavel, N., Goodman, J., Hoffman, C. J., Huston, A., Mehta, A., Paller, C. J., Richardson, K., Seely, D., Siwik, C. J., Temel, J. S., & Rowland, J. H. (2023). Integrative Oncology Care of Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Adults With Cancer: Society for Integrative Oncology-ASCO Guideline. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 41(28), 4562–4591.
    • Balneaves, L. G., Watling, C. Z., Hayward, E. N., Ross, B., Taylor-Brown, J., Porcino, A., & Truant, T. L. O. (2022). Addressing Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Individuals With Cancer: An Integrative Review and Clinical Practice Guideline. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 114(1), 25–37.
    • Witt, C. M., Balneaves, L. G., Carlson, L. E., Cohen, M., Deng, G., Fouladbakhsh, J. M., Kinney, A. Y., Mehta, A., Mailman, J., Pole, L., Rogge, A. A., O'Toole, C., Zick, S. M., & Helmer, S. M. (2022). Education Competencies for Integrative Oncology-Results of a Systematic Review and an International and Interprofessional Consensus Procedure. Journal of Cancer Education, 37(3), 499–507.
    • Balneaves, L. G., & Watling, C. Z. (2022). "Part of the Conversation": A Qualitative Study of Oncology Healthcare Professionals' Experiences of Integrating Standardized Assessment and Documentation of Complementary Medicine. Integrative Cancer therapies, 21, 15347354221077229.
    • Hayward, E. N., Watling, C. Z., & Balneaves, L. G. (2021). A pre-post evaluation of oncology healthcare providers' knowledge, attitudes, and practices following the implementation of a complementary medicine practice guideline. Supportive Care in Cancer, 29(12), 7487–7495.
    • Ben-Arye, E., Paller, C. J., Lopez, A. M., White, S., Pendleton, E., Kienle, G. S., Samuels, N., Abbawaajii, N., & Balneaves, L. G. (2021). The Society for Integrative Oncology Practice Recommendations for online consultation and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Supportive Care in Cancer, 29(10), 6155–6165.
    • Bell, J. A. H., Kelly, M. T., Gelmon, K., Chi, K., Ho, A., Rodney, P., & Balneaves, L. G. (2020). Gatekeeping in cancer clinical trials in Canada: The ethics of recruiting the "ideal" patient. Cancer medicine, 9(12), 4107–4113.

    Publications List

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