January 5, 2011, Kelowna, BC – The BC Generations Project came to the Southern Interior this morning, and with it came a call for local residents aged 35 to 69 to contribute to the health of future British Columbians by taking part in the largest cancer prevention study in Canadian history.

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, launched the project in 2009 to explore how genetics, environment, lifestyle and behaviour contribute to our risk of developing cancer, as well as other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It aims to collect health information, along with blood and urine samples of 40,000 British Columbians by 2012, as part of a national study of 300,000 Canadians from five provinces.

"Everyone has been touched by cancer, whether themselves, their family, or a friend," said Parliamentary Secretary for Health Promotion, Terry Lake. "Research like the BC Generations project leads to advances in our knowledge of cancer. And research depends on people like you and me participating, so please, take a little bit of time, and join this important national study."

BC Cancer Agency senior scientist Richard Gallagher, the Project’s principal investigator, explained that every participant’s anonymous information will contribute to cancer studies for decades to come.

“All that’s required is that you are between 35 and 69 years old and live in B.C.,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity for our generation to do something for future generations —it could help protect your children and grandchildren from getting cancer.”

Robert Fine, Director of Economic Development for the Central Okanagan, became the first local resident to volunteer at the clinic.

“As a father who just turned 50, and having lost my own father to cancer, I want to do everything I can to help researchers find cures for this disease,” Fine said.

“The BC Generations Project is a significant undertaking,” said Wynne Powell, Chair, Provincial Health Services Authority. “It will result in a massive collection of high quality, highly-secure data that can be used in cancer research studies for decades. And because many of the risk factors for cancer are also risk factors for other diseases, the project will also benefit approved health research in many other areas.”

The BC Generations Project clinic in the Southern Interior was funded by a gift to the BC Cancer Foundation in the will of a longtime Kelowna resident and former cancer patient who was grateful for the care she received at the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the Southern Interior. The BC Generations Project clinic is located in the Westbank Valley Medical Lab at 2427 Main Street and will be open from January 6 to February 5, 2011. For more information about the study and how to get involved, please call: 604-675-8221; toll free: 1-877-675-8221; email: bcgenerationsproject@bccrc.ca or visit online at: www.bcgenerationsproject.ca

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The BC Generations Project, a project of the BC Cancer Agency, will collect data and biospecimens from 40,000 British Columbians aged 40 and 69 as the basis for ongoing studies to learn more about preventing cancer and other chronic diseases for future generations. Sign up today at www.bcgenerationsproject.ca

The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit www.bccancer.ca.

The BC Cancer Foundation, the fundraising partner of the BC Cancer Agency and the largest charitable funder of cancer research in B.C., enables donors to contribute to leading-edge research that has a direct impact on improvements to cancer care for patients. For more information, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com.

For more information please contact:

Judy Hamill
BC Cancer Foundation
Email: jhamill@bccancer.bc.ca
T: 604.707.5934
C: 604.802.6984

Allison Colina
BC Cancer Agency
Email: allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca
T: 604.877.6272