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Prevention Programs

The goal of the Prevention Programs is simply stated: “Keeping healthy people healthy.”
About us

The Prevention Programs has a network of Prevention Educational Leaders throughout the province of BC. 

We have refined key messages of cancer prevention and developed programs that help British Columbians lower their risk of cancer by avoiding the main risk factors for the disease.

Our Prevention Educational Leaders support health authorities in implementing public education programs in their regions, encouraging cancer prevention through health-conscious practices.

We have a strict adherence to evidence-based knowledge coupled with a commitment to building community capacity. We are constantly looking for more opportunities to make progress in cancer prevention and promote healthy living for all British Columbians.

The Prevention Programs were awarded the Excellence in Innovation Award from the Canadian College of Health Service Executives (Lower Mainland Chapter, 2007), for demonstrating innovation, quality and collaboration to create sustainable and measurable benefits for the community. 



The goal of the Prevention Programs is simply stated: “Keeping healthy people healthy.”

But the simplicity of the message belies the complexity of the task. We know that approximately one in three people will develop cancer in their lifetime, yet over 50 percent of those cancers are preventable. 

The main risk factors for cancer (and many other chronic diseases) are:

  • tobacco use

  • obesity, inactivity and inadequate nutrition

  • overexposure to ultraviolet radiation

In BC alone, the combined annual cost of smoking, inactivity, and obesity amounts to approximately $3.8 billion.

BC Cancer Prevention Programs are part of a broad-based strategic approach to cancer control. We share the goals of other agencies and organizations in BC who are working on educating the public about lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease. Recognizing that resources are precious, we continue to build partnerships and work collaboratively with other stakeholders to support our mutual goals.

That’s why we take the approach we do. We keep current with known intervention and education strategies and collaborate with health authorities in implementing those strategies at every opportunity: in schools, community centres, daycare facilities, doctor’s offices, hospitals, recreation facilities, and in many more venues and at community events across British Columbia. We know that our strategies, applied in timely and effective ways, set lifelong patterns of healthy living for all British Columbians and lead to fewer cancer diagnoses in decades to come.

With the support of BC Cancer and the Provincial Health Services Authority, we will continue to focus our efforts on creating a different landscape for the future of cancer control. 

Our team

BC Cancer’s Prevention Programs has a team of Prevention Educational Leaders who are located throughout BC.

The Prevention Educational Leaders (PELs) build partnerships, collaborate, and support health authorities in assessing community needs and implementing public education programs, as well as making recommend­ations for cancer control in their regions.

In carrying out their mandate, the PELs focus upon the five main preventable risk factors for cancer of tobacco, obesity, inactivity, poor nutrition and sun exposure. The PELs also assist to promote and educate about Screening, chiefly mammography and cervical screening. Furthermore, our staff provide cancer prevention information for BC Cancer patients in order to prevent new cancers.

Please contact Kathy Pym at 604-877-6227 for further information, or to see how your school can take part in the Healthy Living Schools Program, a program designed to recognize those schools who encourage healthy behaviour among the student population.

Christy Anderson: Castlegar

Christy holds a commerce degree in entrepreneurial management and has over twelve years of experience working with small business start-ups and their owners. She has a passion for community development from a grassroots level and has been involved in many not-for-profit organizations as both an advisor and as a facilitator. Her experience with non-profit sectors is varied and includes collaboration and work with an independent film festival, rural technology cluster development and leading strategic planning processes.

Karen Barnstable: Okanagan, Merritt, Salmon Arm

Karen has a Master’s Degree in Education and has enjoyed working with students at UBC Okanagan in the area of Health Psychology and Community Health Promotion. It was her own love of learning that led Karen into a career in Education. She spent many years teaching in the public school system, instructing French, English and Health. After experiencing every grade from Kindergarten to grade 12, she moved into adult education and spent several years facilitating workshops in portfolio development for Teachers and Employment Counsellors across western Canada. She is currently working as an adjunct professor with UBCO and Okanagan College in addition to her PEL work.

Karen is pleased to be involved in maintaining the resource that contributes to secondary students and families in BC planning and living a healthy lifestyle.

Andrea Winckers: Boundary, Kootenays, Revelstoke

Andrea has an educational background in Kinesiology, Psychology, and Coaching and has operated her own health and lifestyle consulting business, Kootenay Healthworks, for the past 8 years. She is a member of several diverse community development boards, offering leadership and collaboration in the areas of health promotion, community capacity building, and chronic disease prevention. She brings a passion for developing strategies and catalyzing interventions that enhance individual and community wellbeing. Andrea resides in Trail.

Cheryl Colby: Fraser Valley, Boston Bar

Cheryl Colby has been a health and fitness professional for over 20 years, and has a Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree. Cheryl has served as the Director of Personal Training at Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club as well as Jericho Tennis Club, and was one of the original trainers for Lifeworks Health Systems, one of Canada’s leading corporate health and wellness companies. As a personal trainer and health and fitness coordinator, Cheryl has experience with a variety of populations, including children, seniors of all ages, rehabilitation, pre/post natal, athletic training (including tennis and golf), boot camp, special needs and weight loss.
Cheryl believes that everyone deserves a healthy lifestyle, and with her passion for health and people, delivers a positive, energetic approach in working with her communities.

Breann Specht: North / West Vancouver, Lower Mainland

Specht.jpgBreann holds a Masters degree in Population and Public health and has over eleven years experience in the health sector, both locally and internationally. As a Community Developer with Vancouver Coastal Health, Breann's work focuses on improving the health and well being of her community through capacity building, partnership development, facilitating access to information and services, and creating supportive environments. Breann has also worked in health human resource planning, global tobacco control, HIV/AIDS control and prevention, and health promotion. Teaching has become a growing interest for Breann and she is currently teaching a public health course to naturopath students.

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