Much of my research at the BC Cancer Agency would not exist without the philanthropy of our donors. Lung cancer research has traditionally been underfunded in comparison to many other tumour types. We have been incredibly fortunate to be generously supported by the Eleni Skalbania Endowment for Lung Cancer Research which has been instrumental in allowing us to examine the care of lung cancer patients in B.C.
With the backing of the Eleni Skalbania Endowment we have developed a software platform called the Outcomes and Surveillance Integrated System (OaSIS) that enables us to track patient treatments and outcomes.
Several projects have been internationally presented by utilizing the OaSIS database:
- A project on PET scanning in early stage lung cancer highlighted possible populations that should be considered for further surgical staging so that patients will receive stage-appropriate management;
- A study of the evolution of lung cancer care over the past decade demonstrated that physicians are incorporating new clinical trials data into their clinical practice when selecting chemotherapy for advanced disease and this has resulted in improved survival for our patients;
- A third study looked at referral patterns across the province to assess what services are being utilized and how we can optimize referrals to medical and radiation oncology respectively;
- A fourth project looked at different approaches to the management of advanced lung cancer from upfront chemotherapy to watching and waiting and initiating therapy at a later time to examine the pitfalls and benefits of either strategy.
Many other projects are also underway looking at smoking patterns, use of chemotherapy in early stage lung cancer and others to help us learn more about lung cancer in B.C.
This year’s Inspiration Gala, which took place a couple of weeks ago, will help increase our lung cancer research capabilities even more. With the incredible $2.3 million raised, we will be able to develop a rapid access clinic for lung cancer patients to reduce wait times and facilitate treatment. We are building a tumour tissue bank to learn more about the biology of lung cancer and its response to treatment by linking with OaSIS. We are also planning to develop more educational resources for lung cancer patients to help them become their own advocates in the treatment of their disease. All of these things will be possible because of the generous support of BC Cancer Foundation donors.