Vancouver, B.C. –Today is International Women’s Day. Across the province, female researchers and doctors at BC Cancer are changing the outcome for people impacted by cancer in British Columbia.

With an abundance of talented females at the forefront of their fields, these women are breaking barriers in science and medicine and continuing to advance research breakthroughs that have an immense impact on the cancer landscape.

BC Cancer’s female scientists and clinicians continue to break down cancer in the labs, and pursue excellence in patient care. They are, and will be, integral in reducing the burden of cancer for all British Columbians, as we see cancer cases rise by nearly 40 per cent over the next 15 years.     

Some highlights of these prestigious female experts include: 

  • Dr. Karen Gelmon, medical oncologist and researcher, is a global leader in the fields of breast and lung cancer research, helping spearhead new and improved treatments for patients across our province and beyond. Her work has deepened the collective understanding of the character of cancer and its effects on patients.
  • Dr. Sharlene Gill is a leading medical oncologist in the treatment of colorectal, pancreatic, stomach, esophagus and liver cancers - among the deadliest and most common cancer types in Canada. Trained at UBC, The Mayo Clinic and Harvard University, she has been at BC Cancer since 2003.
  • Dr. Anna Tinker is a medical oncologist and researcher helping spearhead a promising treatment for women with gynecological cancers called Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocyte (TIL) treatment.
  • Dr. Juanita Crook is a radiation oncologist at BC Cancer – Kelowna and is a pioneer in the field of brachytherapy – a specialized type of internal radiation that delivers a more targeted dose, producing fewer side effects. She is known globally as a leading expert in this area, and continues to focus her time on high-dose rate brachytherapy for both prostate and breast cancer. She has seen great success with a new type of treatment for breast cancer, where seventy-five patients in Kelowna are now cancer-free because of this approach.  
  • Dr. Vanessa Bernstein is a medical oncologist at BC Cancer – Victoria who specializes in breast cancer and melanoma. She has been integral in the area of clinical trials at the centre, having held principal investigator positions for several national and international clinical trials. She enrolled patients in three clinical trials that eventually changed how oncologists treat breast cancer today. Dr. Bernstein is currently the chair of the BC Cancer Skin Cancer Tumour Group, and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
  • Dr. Jenny Ko is a medical oncologist and Director of the Clinical Trials Unit at BC Cancer – Abbotsford. Dr. Ko’s cutting-edge and innovative work in cancer research earned her a Health Professional-Investigator Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research last year. One area of research her team is currently focusing on is exploring if there is a better way to measure a tumour’s response to chemotherapy before surgery.

Celebrate a powerhouse woman in your life on social media! Use the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay and tag @BCCancerFdn.