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Understanding Tumours

When I began treating breast cancer, we treated patients according to whether they were pre-menopausal or not, and whether there was any sign of cancer in the lymph nodes of the armpit. We knew that some cancers were more aggressive by looking at them under the microscope and that they often recurred. In breast cancer, we understood that a majority of tumours responded to hormone treatment. Since then, our knowledge has expanded, and we now understand many more characteristics of cancers and treat according to these factors rather than just the size of the tumour. In breast cancer, we can now...

Oncology: We’ve come along way

My name is Karen Gelmon and I am a medical oncologist. As a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency, I see patients with breast cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma and persons with any type of cancer who are interested in participating in Phase I clinical trials of new experimental drugs. I first came to the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre as a resident training in internal medicine, and later returned to train in medical oncology. The first weekend I was on call as a medical resident I worked with a former Head of Medical Oncology, Dr. Jim Goldie, who is a phenomenally creative thinker. He...

The BC Generations Project

When it comes to learning about the causes of disease, the BC Generations Project will be a phenomenal asset. The project will help researchers learn more about how your environment, lifestyle and genes contribute to cancer and chronic diseases. Our project is part of a national initiative (the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow) to collect health information and biological samples from Canadians across the country to support future research studies that will use this massive collection of data. Participating in the study is like filling a time capsule — today’s data will be used many years in...

My research and taking the reins of the BC Generations Project

Statisticians develop new methodology to understand data and in my thesis I developed new methodology to better evaluate cancer risk in epidemiological studies. After I completed my doctorate, I furthered my experience in developing new statistical methodology, worked with more clinicians in a wide variety of research studies and developed my own research program in outcomes after the diagnosis of cardiac disease. In 1999, I was lucky to return to the BC Cancer Agency as a biostatistician and epidemiologist. I quickly returned to my research interests in the environment and cancer. I studied...

About me and my first BC Cancer Agency role

My name is John Spinelli, and I am a research scientist in Cancer Control Research at the BC Cancer Agency. My background is probably quite different than most of the scientists and physicians at the BC Cancer Agency, as I did not study medicine or any of the hard sciences. Instead, I received my training in mathematics and statistics. For me growing up, there were only two seasons: baseball and winter. I spent hours playing little league or wiffle ball in the backyard, or just throwing the ball against the wall of our house (breaking many windows in the process). When I wasn’t outside...

Introducing Dr. John Spinelli

It’s that time of year again, where holidays are wrapping up and back to school is in the air. We certainly had a busy summer of events here at the Foundation and we are looking forward to what’s to come this fall. In the meantime, we have an interesting blog topic for you this month, shared by our next guest blogger Dr. John Spinelli, who will tell us about the BC Generations Project. Dr. Spinelli is a distinguished scientist and the department head of Cancer Control Research at the BC Cancer Agency. He has a different background from many of the other research scientists at the Agency...

Dr. Huntsman looking to the future of OvCaRe – an internationally recognized entity

Our first five-year plan for the Ovarian Cancer Research program (OvCaRe) is nearly complete. During these first five years, OvCaRe has grown from an idea into an internationally recognized team. We have exceeded all of our expectations of the program’s success. I believe this is because of the collaborative spirit that exists within our team and the firm partnership we have established with our patients and the BC Cancer Foundation. We have a new five-year plan now that enables OvCaRe to increase the scope of our discoveries and bring our discoveries into the clinic – to improve the lives of...

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