Right now, technology is giving us a more refined, clear understanding of cancer at a genomic level. We’ve discovered that breast cancers can have great variability, even within a single patient, and this information is crucial to new therapies.

One area my colleagues and I have been focused on is patients who typically receive chemotherapy before surgery. By performing biopsies and next generation sequencing on their tumours, we are gaining insight into what is happening to their tumours and also seeing if alternative methods would be more effective in treating them.

The BC Cancer Foundation has been an important partner for the breast tumour group. This partnership began many years ago with an endowment that has sustained the breast tumour group with various research endeavours over the years. This early recognition and support was crucial for us.

More recently, fundraising events like the Weekend to End Breast Cancer and Bust a Move have provided support for a variety of projects and research platforms that are vital to what we do.

For example, the Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit, chaired by Scott Tyldesley, has been supported by generous BC Cancer Foundation donors. Individuals from across the province are giving these programs the resources they need and helping to sustain them. Supporting clinical research at the patient level also helps increase the number of trials we can make available to patients.

Stephen

Medical Oncologist and Chair - Provincial Breast Tumour Group, BC Cancer Agency