Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Proposal Awarded WLP Grant

Krista Schiebelbein is a breast cancer survivor. Her medical journey consists of many interventions, including a double mastectomy performed in the wake of a long-awaited genetic test confirming she had a gene mutation that increases one’s lifetime risk of breast cancer by 60 to 80 percent.

“Had I known about that mutation sooner, I might have been spared those surgeries altogether,” says Krista. “And think about my children . . . (this) could bring them answers sooner, revealing their risks of cancer.”

In Saskatchewan, women with breast cancer can wait up to five years for genetic testing, risking serious consequences for themselves and their families, says  Oncologist Dr. Mita Manna, Royal University Hospital Foundation’s Women Leading Philanthropy (WLP) $100,000 grant recipient for 2023.

Time is of the essence for these patients,” says Dr. Manna.

Dr. Manna was one of three short-listed presenters whose project proposals were heard and voted on in September by WLP members—a group of over 130 like-minded women whose donations fund innovative health-care initiatives led by female physicians, practitioners and researchers at Royal University Hospital.

WLP’s grant will support Dr. Manna’s mainstream genetic testing pilot program to improve timely access to genetic testing without prior consultation with genetic counsellors. Only those with identified gene mutations would then be referred to medical geneticists, optimizing cancer care and patient outcomes.

“This is about placing patients at the centre,” says Dr. Manna. “It isn’t just a step forward; it is a leap toward a brighter horizon for cancer care in Saskatchewan.”

Dr. Manna’s presentation inspired additional support from a grateful patient of hers who provided an additional $50,000 to further the project.

Since its inception six years ago, WLP has granted $750,000 to support eight care-transforming projects for women and their families.

To learn more about RUH Foundation’s WLP program, click here or call Lisa Sands, Chief Development Officer, at 306.655.6477.

Read more inspiring stories in our Spring 2024 Milestones or make your donation now.

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