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With a vision of a world free from cancer, BC Cancer's mandate covers the entire continuum of cancer care: prevention and screening; diagnosis, treatment and supportive care; through to rehabilitation, survivorship and end of life care.

BC ranks among the best in the world for cancer outcomes

  • BC has among the best cancer outcomes in the world, including highest of the G7 countries for childhood leukemia, and second highest survival rates across 67 countries for prostate and breast cancer, based upon data gathered from 1995-2009. 
  • BC Cancer established the first cervical cancer screening program in the world in 1955, and as a result has successfully reduced cervical cancer rates by 70 per cent. The Screening Mammography Program of BC, now known as BC Cancer - Breast Screening, was the first of its kind in Canada, established in 1988. It has reduced breast cancer death in BC by 25 per cent. 

Precision medicine

A future free of cancer requires a fundamental shift in thinking: cancer patients can no longer be treated as a homogeneous group. BC Cancer has established itself as a global leader in precision medicine and is poised to revolutionize the future of cancer care.

  • Personalized Onco-Genomics, or POG, is changing the way cancer is diagnosed and treated, proving that genomics can change the way we treat cancer. It’s one of the most exciting cancer research initiatives ever undertaken in BC, and is setting a global precedent in terms of the diversity of cancers investigated and the number of patients participating. POG has taught us that we aren’t limited to traditional anti-cancer drugs and is fundamentally shifting how cancer medicine is practiced.
  • PanGen is an innovative initiative that for the first time in BC is using genomics to identify different types of pancreatic cancer. The PanGen team hopes to identify unique biomarkers that will result in more effective treatments for patients facing this deadly form of cancer. There is strong interest internationally in this novel research, with the opportunity to improve the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer worldwide. 
  • A world first: machine-learning software used to analyze data from single cancer cells, allowing BC Cancer researchers to map the spread of the deadliest ovarian cancer. This innovative approach will be used to more closely examine cells that become resistant to treatment, and promises to be further engineered into a predictive tool. 
  • BC Cancer was the first in Canada to launch a province-wide personalized medicine panel test through standards of care; the oncopanel, myeloid panel, and hereditary panels are informing thousands of patient treatment plans. These genomic-based tests can be updated every six months, informed by clinically actionable targets discovered through programs such as POG.
  • At the forefront of personalized medicine, the Centre for Lymphoid Cancer is leading the development of new genomic based prognostic tests to reduce treatment failure and improve patient survival.

Research discoveries

  • BC Cancer scientists were the first in the world to decode the genetic evolution of a breast cancer tumour. Scientists decoded all of the three billion letters in the DNA sequence of a metastatic lobular breast cancer tumour, a type of breast cancer that accounts for about 10 per cent of all breast cancers, and have found all of the mutation that caused the cancer to spread.
  • BC Cancer researchers are providing critical insight into the invasive spread of the most malignant form of ovarian cancer. This discovery is a world first in mapping two distinct patterns of ovarian cancer cell migration in high grade serous ovarian cancer.
  • Researchers from BC Cancer’s Ovarian Cancer Research program (OvCaRe) and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute were the first in the world to discover that a single genetic mutation is behind one of the deadliest forms of ovarian cancer. This discovery could help unravel the causes of many other cancers and lead to a while host of new treatments.


  • BC Cancer, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance have formed a new partnership to enhance cancer research in the newly named Cascadia Innovation Corridor. The new partnership will expand patient access to care and clinical trials, advance immunotherapy, enable research collaboration, and provide better training opportunities for young scientists and researchers.
  • In a national first, the Terry Fox Research Institute and two leading cancer centres in Canada - the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto and BC Cancer in Vancouver - launched  an innovative pilot project to accelerate precision medicine for their cancer patients. The pilot is the first phase for developing and implementing a national program that will link high-performing comprehensive cancer research centres, hospitals and universities, with their clinical and laboratory programs across Canada through the Terry Fox Designated Canadian Comprehensive Cancer Centres Network.
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