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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...

Making a Difference

BC Cancer Foundation donors provide crucial support for clinical care and research to improve the outcome of lung cancer patients. For example, through the generous support of donors, we were able to renovate the Endoscopy Suite at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre to install a sophisticated image management system, and acquire the latest endoscopic ultrasound equipment and different types of instruments for biopsy. This first class facility enables us to have a rapid diagnostic clinic. When patients suspected to have lung cancer are referred to us, we can offer a one-stop visit with a...

Finding the Source

I am a Respiratory Medicine specialist looking after patients with lung cancer and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency Research Center. I lead a team of interventional pulmonologists with highly specialized skills to provide a rapid access service to diagnose lung cancer and determine the stage. We utilize highly technical equipment, including a computerized navigation system and endoscopic ultrasound probes to localize small lesions that are beyond the visible range of a conventional bronchoscope to take a biopsy. We also use ultrasound bronchoscopy to sample lymph glands...

Pioneering path in lung cancer research

I grew up in Hong Kong, and came to Canada when I was 17 to do my undergrad and medical school education at the University of Toronto. After graduation, I came to Vancouver to do my residency training in Internal Medicine and Respiratory Medicine at UBC and then post-fellowship training at the Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston and the National Cancer Center Hospital in Tokyo. I met my wife, May Ong, at Vancouver General Hospital when we were in training. She is also a University of Toronto medical school graduate. When I was in medical school, one of the health care epidemiology...

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