cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women. In 2007, an
estimated 22,300 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
and 5,300 will die of it. Lunenfeld scientist Dr. Pamela Goodwin
focuses her research on lifestyle and related factors and their impact
on breast cancer patient survival rates. As a clinician and Director of
Mount Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre, Dr. Goodwin
shares her research insights with patients and provides support to
improve the overall health of breast cancer
Goodwin is currently working on a number of projects related to
lifestyle interventions and breast cancer results. In a recent study,
Dr. Goodwin uncovered a link between vitamin D deficiency and poor
prognosis of breast cancer. She found that found that deficiency in
vitamin D is common in breast cancer patients and is associated with
higher grade breast cancer tumours, increased risk of recurrence and
lower overall survival rates than those patients with sufficient
vitamin D levels.
1989, Dr. Goodwin and her colleagues have studied newly-diagnosed
breast cancer patients and found that obesity has a negative impact on
breast cancer outcomes. Their conclusion – that the high insulin levels
that arise from obesity encourage tumour growth and make breast cancer
recurrence more likely – received international attention including
coverage in the New York Times in 2000.
2001, Dr. Goodwin radically changed the way that cancer patient support
groups are viewed by demonstrating that support oriented group therapy
does not prolong the life of women with metastatic breast cancer, but
that the groups can have beneficial psychological effects for some.
Since that finding, she has created the ‘Taking Charge’ support group
program at the Marvelle Koffler Breast Cancer Centre to educate
patients about healthier diet and physical activity choices that may
decrease risk of recurrence.