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A desire to help

I am delighted to be co-blogging with Sarah Sample this month! I can’t compare to Sarah’s experience and wisdom, but just like our patients, we all bring something a little different to what we do. I started off working in the Fraser Valley Centre about 10 years ago and loved the focus on patient centred care and ongoing learning. However, the commute was not good for my own “wellness” and when the chance came to work closer to home, I took it! We talk to patients and families so much about self-care and compassion and like everyone who works so hard here at the BC Cancer Agency, we sometimes...

Wherever you go, there you are

“Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn I have been working with Patient and Family Counselling, at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre for almost 25 years—the last five as a clinical coordinator. I have taken a rather serendipitous path getting here, and am so glad and...

Introducing December Guest Bloggers: Sarah Sample and Paula Myers

I am delighted to introduce Sarah Sample and Paula Myers as this month’s guest bloggers. This dynamic duo is integral to the BC Cancer Agency’s Patient and Family Counselling program. Sarah is currently the Program’s practice leader, and has worked with patients and families for almost 25 years. Prior to working in oncology, she worked in radio and television for 13 years, and afterwards, while pursuing a music degree, she changed faculties to Social Work and Family Studies. Paula’s extensive career has included working with youth, addictions, mental health and now psychosocial oncology. She...

Looking to the past for cancer clues

The Hereditary Cancer Program’s mandate is to reduce cancer incidence, mortality, and to improve quality of life for individuals and families with hereditary cancer. We offer genetic counselling and genetic testing services to patients and families from B.C. and the Yukon. We identify those at risk of a hereditary cancer and provide cancer screening and prevention advice and education to individuals, families, and health care professionals. Individuals and families can be referred by their health care providers or they can self-refer if they meet criteria. Most cancers are not inherited, but...

Love what you do and it doesn't feel like work

My name is Intan Schrader and I am co-medical director of the Hereditary Cancer Program with Sophie Sun. I am a medical geneticist, specializing in cancer genetics. It was during medical school that I took a serious interest in cancer genetics. After receiving my medical degree from the University of Melbourne, I completed my residency in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia. During that time, I chose to extend my training to pursue my interest in studying hereditary cancer. I was fortunate to be accepted into the lab of Dr. David Huntsman, where I investigated the...

First "clinical trial" in Grade 6 for this doctor

I am a medical oncologist and co-medical director of the Hereditary Cancer Program, with Intan Schrader. I grew up in Toronto, and first became interested in science in grade six. For my science project that year, I bought samples of acne cream and asked some older (pimply) kids to use and rate the effectiveness of the creams. In retrospect, this was my first randomized phase 2 clinical trial! I studied genetics at McGill University for six years. There, I became interested in cancer genetics during my graduate studies with Dr. Steven Narod, a co-discoverer of the first hereditary breast...

Introducing November Guest Bloggers: Dr. Sophie Sun and Intan Schrader

I am delighted to introduce Drs. Sophie Sun and Intan Schrader as this month’s guest bloggers. Both are co-medical directors of the Hereditary Cancer Program, which continues to see increasing interest and demand from patients and health care professionals. Over the next few weeks, Drs. Sun and Schrader will share more about this provincial program, which provides hereditary cancer genetic counselling and genetic testing to individuals and families across B.C. and the Yukon. The program also identifies those at risk of a hereditary cancer and provides cancer screening and prevention advice...

The promising future of lung cancer research

Detecting and treating lung cancer early not only offers the best chance of cure, but decreases the symptoms and burden associated with advanced disease. While there is good scientific evidence to show early detection using low-dose CT scans can decrease lung cancer death rate by as much as 20 percent, additional research remains to be done. More than 50 percent of the lung cancer patients we see now have never smoked, and those who have smoked before have stopped for years. Currently, we are conducting research to determine the impact of outdoor and household air pollution exposures as well...

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