Genomics saves West Vancouver woman’s life after facing aggressive ovarian cancer

Personalized onco-genomics program is BC Cancer’s flagship study in precision medicine

Two and a half years after beginning her journey on the personalized onco-genomics (POG) program and starting her tailored medication, Candy Woodward has been cancer-free.

Every three and a half hours, another woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Canada. In B.C, more than 300 women will be diagnosed with a form of ovarian cancer this year.

In the winter of 2014, this statistic included West Vancouver’s Candy Woodworth.

At her weekly Pilates class, Candy noticed she felt uncomfortable when doing a routine exercise. She went back to the class a week later, and noticed the same pain in her stomach and immediately made an appointment with her family doctor, who sent her for an urgent ultrasound.

“I hardly had my coat off when the phone rang and my doctor told me I had to come back immediately,” Candy says. “My husband and I both went back, and it was then we found out I had ovarian cancer.”

In March of 2015, Candy’s treatment plan began with surgery, where her tumour was removed, followed by 18 rounds of chemotherapy.

A year later, at one of Candy’s routine check-ups, her team discovered her cancer had returned, this time in her colon.

“My feelings at that point in time were still very positive – just get the job done, and that’s exactly how my team at BC Cancer approached it,” says Candy. She went in for surgery a second time.

Six months later, Candy’s cancer returned again, in the exact same place in her colon. “It was very unusual for it to return to the exact same place,” says Candy.

She underwent her third surgery.

With her cancer at an aggressive state, Candy was put forward as a prime candidate for an innovative, personalized cancer program at BC Cancer. She was put in touch with Dr. Anna Tinker, Provincial Gyne Oncology Tumour Group Chair and medical oncologist at BC Cancer.

The personalized onco-genomics (POG) program is BC Cancer’s flagship study in precision medicine and the first program of its kind to use whole genome analysis to inform individual treatment planning for patients.

Through this program, Dr. Tinker and team found that Candy’s tumour had a mutant BRCA gene, even though Candy herself did not carry the gene, and was able to match the tumour mutation to a clinical trial drug.

It’s been two and a half years and Candy has been cancer-free since she began her journey on the POG program and started her tailored medication.

“The POG program and the fact they found a drug for me has given me my life back,” says Candy. “It means everything – I now get the opportunity to be with my family and watch my grandchildren grow.”

You can help support the life-saving Personalized Onco-genomics program at BC Cancer by visiting: bccancerfoundation.com/POG

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Lardeau man missing at Duncan Lake

Thomas Schrieber was last seen on Sept. 15

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Brittny Anderson seeks Nelson-Creston NDP nomination

Anderson is currently a member of Nelson city council

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read