Survivor of colorectal cancer heading up patient-focused research at UBC

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The need to make treatment more patient-based has prompted new research into Canada’s second most common type of cancer by someone who understands just how frustrating it can be.

Dr. Mary De Vera heads up a team at UBC using an international online survey to get a better understanding of the information patients need about colorectal cancer.

“Cancer picked a fight with me, so I’m picking a fight back in the best way I know how and that is through research,” she says.

The 39-year-old, who has been cancer-free for two years, says the end goal is to communicate findings with health care providers and improve patient resources.

“The trustworthiness of information that patients get really has an impact on how patients process or accept a diagnosis,” she says. “How they follow treatment and how they deal with the pressures, the anxiety and the stress of having an illness.”

She says her own experience prompted her to seek out input from fellow survivors and current patients.

“I still had questions about some things that we may have discussed in clinic visits. People like me were having the same types of questions.”

De Vera also tells NEWS 1130 this cancer is no longer something only people older than 50 have to worry about.

“Part of the reason to also do the research is it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness of the disease – especially for younger adults.”

She adds the study, which started in November, needs more feedback before it wraps up at the end of this month and fewer than 200 of nearly a thousand respondents so far are from Canada.

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