PhD student Olivia Tseng wins breast cancer fellowship

Olivia Tseng has been awarded a TELUS-Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Fellowship to investigate how interactions with family physicians can improve care for people who have experienced breast cancer. Dr. Tseng’s supervisors are McBride and Martin Dawes, Professor and Head of the UBC Department of Family Practice.

Olivia TsengDr. Tseng, a practising family physician in the Vancouver area and a member of the Clinician Scholar Program of the Department of Family Practice, was one of five fellows who will receive the award, designed to support specialized medical and allied health professional training that will strengthen multidisciplinary care teams focused on improving breast cancer treatment and care.

Dr. Tseng’s project is focused on improving primary care for breast cancer patients surviving after cancer treatment. Preventive care and surveillance of chronic health problems for such patients is commonly neglected due to a primary focus on cancer recurrence. Quality follow-up care for survivors should involve general preventive care, and surveillance of cancer recurrence, new cancers and chronic health problems.

Family doctors potentially play a key role in caring for cancer survivors. This study will be the first to explore how survivors’ visits to their regular family doctors affect follow-up health care, including hospitalizations and preventive care such as annual physical exams, lipid tests and sugar tests. This study will use available B.C. health records to track follow-up care of breast cancer survivors.

Dr. Tseng’s research project will make use of the Survivorship Research Program at the BC Cancer Agency, led by Mary McBride, a Clinical Professor in the School of Population and Public Health and a Distinguished Scientist at the BC Cancer Agency, and which is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Dr. Tseng was awarded the Lloyd Jones Collins Research award during her family medicine residency training and nominated by UBC for the 2011 national resident research award.