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Precision Nutrition

BC Cancer Scientist Dr. Rachel Murphy - Precision Nutrition Research
For more information, contact

Becky Yost
Director, Development

Precision Nutrition: Improving Cancer Prevention and Outcomes

Research has proven that a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent up to 40% of cancers.

And following a cancer diagnosis, people who practice healthy lifestyles, including eating well, demonstrate an increased tolerance to therapies like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, improving both their cancer journeys and overall outcomes.

As a result, personalized nutrition recommendations are increasingly becoming a powerful tool in helping to treat cancer. However, the relationship between diet and cancer is much more complex than previously believed due to the disease’s wide-ranging impacts on the microbiome (bacteria that live on and inside the body) and the metabolome (small molecules that participate in metabolism in our bodies).

With very little information on Canadians’ diets available — and even less that captures the crucial data on the microbiome and metabolome (evidence which could help support precision nutrition approaches) — BC Cancer has launched a cutting-edge precision nutrition study. Its aim is to understand diet and health biomarkers and establish a new “gold standard” for diet, cancer prevention and survivorship.

Led by BC Cancer Scientist Dr. Rachel Murphy, this innovative project will be the first large-scale study of dietary intake in a Canadian population and will solidify BC Cancer as world leader in cancer-related dietary research.

BC Cancer’s Precision Nutrition Study: A First of Its Kind

The study will build on BC Cancer’s groundbreaking BC Generations Project (BCGP), which since 2009 has enrolled 30,000 British Columbians, aged 30-74, to generate new scientific knowledge about how environment, lifestyle and genes contribute to overall health.

The dietary intakes of participants (as well as blood and stool samples to capture the microbiome and metabolome) will help identify:

  • Diet and health behaviours in a large population of British Columbians
  • Individuals who experience shortfalls in a specific food or nutrients
  • The characteristics of individuals who experience these impacts
  • Impacts of dietary intake on cancer and related health outcomes

With your support, BC Cancer will take this critical step towards advancing precision nutrition, and enable new discoveries that may assist practitioners, policy makers and patients in making evidence-based decisions to support healthier lifestyles to help prevent cancer and improve outcomes.