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.

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

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Chris Paulson of Burns Lake took a quick selfie with a lynx over the weekend of Feb. 20-22, 2021, after the wild cat was found eating some of his chickens. (Chris Paulson/Facebook)
VIDEO: Burns Lake man grabs lynx by scruff after chickens attacked

‘Let’s see the damage you did, buddy,’ Chris Paulson says to the wild cat

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

A collaborative genomic research project is underway to map the movements of 118 Northwest sockeye populations to better inform management decisions on at-risk stocks. (File photo)
Genomic study tracks 118 Northwest B.C. sockeye populations

Development of new tool will be used to help harvesters target healthy groups

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read