300,000 participants now recruited Canada wide
The BC Generations Project is one of five regions that make up the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, Canada’s largest health study. In autumn 2014, this national project celebrated the recruitment of its 300,000th participant. BC residents participating in the BC Generations Project account for almost 30,000 — or 10% — of this impressive number. We can all take pride in achieving this goal!
Gaining a Canada-wide view of disease among a large population is very important. By studying and comparing all the data collected, researchers can better explore and understand the causes of cancer and other chronic diseases.
Members come through for the BC Generations Project
Thanks to a fantastic response from our study participants, the BC Generations Project has successfully met an ambitious goal to collect baseline blood and urine samples from more than 10,000 additional people throughout BC.
While close to 30,000 people completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire when they joined the Project, not everyone had the opportunity to provide blood and urine samples at the same time. In April 2013, we began reaching out to those participants and inviting them to donate their samples at one of our regional partner labs (provided by LifeLabs, BC Biomedical and Valley Medical Laboratories).
Last summer, we finally met our goal after receiving more than 10,400 additional baseline samples. Even more impressive is the fact that more than 60% of participants who live in a community without a local collection site were still willing to donate (by visiting another town with laboratory services). Today, the number of participants with a baseline sample on record is now 26,482, representing 89% of all our participants.
We extend a big thank you to all who have donated their samples to the project. And if you have received a lab requisition from us that you haven’t yet used, we still welcome your donation!
National dataset available to researchers spring 2015
Beginning this spring, researchers will be able to request access to data from the national dataset, collected from five regions including the BC Generations Project. This milestone represents a massive and ongoing effort to align all the data that has been collected on 300,000 Canadian participants.
Although they share a common goal in the prevention of cancer and chronic diseases, each of the participating regions is unique in their local research interests, their project history and the partnerships they have formed. Because of this, the regions have variations in areas such as participant population, recruitment processes, and data collection/storage methods. The challenge has been to bring together hundreds of different data variables so that researchers can access consistent and valid sets of data for their studies.
A national Harmonization Committee has created the framework for aligning the regional datasets, and all the regions have made major efforts to ensure their own local data is accurate and complete. Last spring saw the successful completion of a national data pilot project where de-identified data on a subset of harmonized variables was released to an approved Canadian researcher.
Harmonization of data variables continues for the remaining data. By the middle of this year, we anticipate more than 700 variables related to the health and lifestyle questionnaire will be available nationally to researchers.
Study snapshot: Cancer Diagnoses
One of the most powerful benefits of the BC Generations Project comes with our ability to track the health and disease outcomes of participants over many years. In addition to the participant information we collect ourselves, we will be able to link our participant information to data at the Ministry of Health and the BC Cancer Agency.
From our linkage to the BC Cancer Registry, we know that a total of 532 of our participants have been diagnosed with cancer since their enrollment. We offer heartfelt wishes for their successful treatment and recovery.
From a research standpoint, these participant records are extremely valuable due to the fact that we’ve been able to collect health information and biological samples before diagnosis of cancer. These samples will help researchers search for potential early predictors of cancer with the goal of improved prevention for future generations.
How do our members compare?
Top 4 cancers diagnosed among BC Generations Project members:
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Malignant Melanoma
- Colorectal Cancer
Top 4 cancers diagnosed in BC*:
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
*source: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014
Environmental questionnaire set to launch
The BC Generations Project has started contacting participants and requesting the completion of part 1 of our online Environmental Questionnaire on lifetime residential history. You can expect to hear from us soon with instructions on how to complete this new survey.
Cancer: Is it preventable?
Are most cancers simply the result of “bad luck”? Dr. John Spinelli, leader of the BC Generations Project, doesn’t think so. He disputes this claim, which was made in a recent, widely-publicized cancer risk study. See his interview on Global Prime Time News and learn why lifestyle and environmental factors remain the key to cancer prevention.
Focus on men at work
The Cancer Prevention Centre is offering a free one-day workshop that may be of interest to our male participants.
On April 14 in Vancouver, the Men’s Health Works workshop will discuss ideas and practices that can help men improve their health at work. This event targets community members, policy-makers, and those who promote men’s physical and mental wellbeing in the workplace. The program will include Canadian experts on men’s health and wellness, as well as industry leaders in men’s health promotion.
Participants can attend in person or virtually. A second event will be held in Prince George in June. Learn more and register here.
Don’t lose touch
If you’re planning to move or change your email address, please let us know by sending your new contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 1.877.675.8221.