For more than 30 years, Population Oncology has engaged in innovative local and international multi-disciplinary research to identify and improve our understanding of risk factors for cancer, best practices in early detection, and to identify underserved populations within British Columbia. Population Oncology research answers questions of key importance to the people of British Columbia, including research designed to identify measures which provide the most value for money.
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the generation of data on molecular markers (e.g. germline genetic variants, epigenetic marks, metabolites etc.) to improve our understanding of the mechanisms by which risk factors are associated with cancer so that targets for intervention can be identified. Risk factors of interest have included numerous occupational and environmental factors (e.g. nightshift work, UV radiation, pesticides) as well as lifestyle factors (e.g. obesity, tobacco, alcohol).
A major focus of research in Population Oncology has been on cervical cancer prevention and early detection, primarily HPV-based screening. HPV FOCAL
, a landmark BC study, was conducted through BC Cancer and the findings continue to be used to evaluate the protection of HPV-based screening for cervical cancer prevention. Another key project is to examine and evaluate the impact of HPV vaccination on the prevalence of cervical dysplasia in BC. These projects are conducted in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Women’s Health Research Institute and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
The Health Economics Support Unit (HESU) sits under the Population Oncology and the Clinical Portfolio. HESU supports the BC Cancer Executive regarding decisions for the adoption and management of therapies, interventions and technologies, by performing timely economic analyses of significant challenges facing BC Cancer, using the best available analysis and evidence.