Discovered in the 1990s by a team of researchers including Dr. Steven Narod, BRCA1 and BRCA2 were found to profoundly impact a woman’s risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer. For over 20 years, Dr. Narod, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer’s research has shaped current knowledge of how to assess this risk and reduce cancer mortality amongst BRCA mutation carriers. A world-leader in the field of breast and ovarian cancer genetics, Dr. Narod studies the various aspects of cancer genetics, including prevention, screening and treatment, to determine how to best deliver services within our healthcare system.
Through the establishment of the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit, Dr. Narod leads an internationally renowned research program in cancer genetics. The work of Dr. Narod and his team has greatly enhanced understanding of the factors that shape women’s risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, as well as how to best treat and prevent these cancers. Dr. Narod and his team have documented more than a dozen factors that reduce inherited cancer risk including medications and preventative surgery such as mastectomy and oophorectomy. Dr. Narod’s findings have significantly improved clinical guidelines for the preventive management and treatment of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. His research on ductal carcinoma in situ has also refined understanding of the early stages of breast cancer and challenged previous treatment recommendations to reduce mortality.
Dr. Narod and his team are also advocates for genetic testing for women who do not have access to current public programs. They recently launched The Screen Project, a national initiative to make BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic screening available to all Canadians at an accessible price. The project is helping the team of research evaluate the benefits of wide-spread population-based genetic testing with the goal of reducing mortality of hereditary cancers before they start.
Dr. Narod has also identified founder mutations in a number of ethnically diverse populations and his database of over 18,000 women from 20 countries supports numerous international collaborations. He has leadership roles in cancer genetics studies in North America, Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. These global collaborations have assisted in the widespread implementation of Dr. Narod’s discoveries, improving outcomes for hereditary cancers across the world.
MD, University of British Columbia, 1979
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics (2019)
- Killam Prize, Health Sciences – Canada Council of the Arts (2016)
- Basser Global Prize (2016)
- Adjunct Professor (Honorary), Medical University of Vienna (2016)
- Karen Campbell Award, Ovarian Cancer Canada (2014)
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013)
- Champion of Genetics, Canadian Gene Cure Foundation (2013)
- O. Harold Warwick Prize, Canadian Cancer Society (2013)
- Fellow, Royal Society of Canada (2012)
- FORCE – Spirit of Empowerment Award (2012)
- Honorary PhD, Pomeranian University of Medicine, Poland (2011)
- World’s Most Cited Researcher in Breast Cancer (2005)