Hereditary Cancer

Dr. Kasmintan Schrader - Hereditary Cancer Research, BC Cancer
For more information, please contact

Lindsay Abbott,
Associate Director

What is Hereditary Cancer?

About 10 percent of cancers are hereditary, and happen when a gene mutation that increases cancer risk is passed down from a parent to a child. The most common inherited mutations are BRCA1, BRCA2 and Lynch Syndrome.

BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program, led by Medical Geneticist Dr. Kasmintan Schrader and Medical Oncologist Dr. Sophie Sun, runs genetic testing on tumours to see if the patient’s family is at risk of cancer. Pivotal for overall disease prevention, this program also allows for faster diagnosis before the cancer is caught too late.

Hereditary Cancer Explained

The Progress is Real…

To date, the HCP team has:

  • Obtained pilot data that led to additional provincial funding to adopt large group genetic counselling as standard of care
  • Improved patient access to genetic testing by decreasing wait times with the large group model
  • Improved identification of patients and families with hereditary cancer who otherwise would not have been eligible for HCP-funded testing
  • Enabled HCP outreach across B.C. including large group counselling sessions in Kelowna, Nanaimo and Victoria

…But There is Still Work to be Done

While there continues to be significant progress, work continues on two pilot programs:

The Large Scale Group Genetic Counselling Pilot that aims to:

  • Reduce wait times by piloting large group genetic counselling;
  • Increase access to genetic testing for individuals without cancer at high-risk of hereditary cancer;
  • Identify the proportion of individuals tested who are identified to have hereditary cancer;
  • Compare and evaluate the large group model with traditional one-on-one genetic counselling.

The Automation and Digitization Pilot that aims to:

  • Reduce wait times by developing and piloting web-based portal and online referral/genetic testing process;
  • Create and pilot pre-test genetic counselling video and chatbot decision aid tool;
  • Evaluate patient-reported outcomes with automated genetic counselling and testing;
  • Feasibility assessment and development of business case for clinic-wide adoption of new digital tools to improve patient access to hereditary cancer genetic testing.

“With donor support, BC Cancer can be one of the first in the world to test upfront genetic screening that could eliminate a diagnosis in the first place.”

– Dr. Kasmintan Schrader, co-director, BC Cancer Hereditary Cancer Program

With your help, BC CAN stop cancer in it’s tracks