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BC family makes $7.2M donation to BC Cancer Foundation

Vancouver’s Diamond family knows the importance of screening for the breast cancer (BRCA) gene mutation.

“Our grandmother, unfortunately, died of breast cancer,” says Jill Diamond. “Had she known she had a BRCA gene mutation and been screened properly, the cancer could have been caught earlier and we would have enjoyed many more years with her”

With their grandmother’s legacy in mind, the Diamond family has made an incredible $7.2-million donation to the BC Cancer Foundation.

<who>Photo Credit: BC Cancer Foundation

The funds will help expand BC Cancer’s Hereditary Cancer Program, and increase identification and screening for the BCRA gene mutation.

This gene mutation dramatically increases the risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer, but screening for it enables early detection and intervention and even prevention in some cases.

“Prevention and early diagnosis are crucial in stopping inherited disease,” explains Sarah Roth. “The more awareness and resources we can provide — through increased genetic testing and access to preventative screening — the more families we can save from the vicious cycle of having generation after generation face devastating cancer diagnoses.”

Unfortunately, only five per cent of the 50,000 British Columbians who carry this gene mutation have been identified.

The Diamond family’s generous gift, one of the biggest ever to the BC Cancer Foundation, will fuel three clinical projects to:

  • Increase outreach to people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, who are at increased risk of the mutation.
  • Establish a first-in-Canada initiative to directly contact high-risk relatives of carriers to pursue genetic testing.
  • Implement immediate genetic testing for breast cancer patients age 60 and under, upon biopsy – eliminating the need for a doctor’s referral for screening and removing the burden on patients.

It will also fund three Breast Imaging Fellowships at BC Cancer - Vancouver, which will increase the centre’s capacity and expertise for specialized breast radiologists.

Jill and Lauri Diamond say this donation is for their daughters, and everyone’s daughters.

“It will allow women to continue to be the backbone of their family, their community and society, and — armed with knowledge about their increased cancer risk, and the preventative measures they can take — protect and care for future generations.”

The Diamond family has a long history of supporting BC Cancer, including the donation of the land that the BC Cancer Research Centre stands on in Vancouver.

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