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Dr. Pamela Goodwin

Research Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Health Complex
600 University Avenue
Toronto Ontario
M5G 1X5

Tel.: 416-586-4800 ext.8605

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Dr. Pamela Goodwin


Breast 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-Tanenbaum Senior Investigator 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 survivors.

Dr. 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.

Since 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.

In 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.

At a Glance

Dr. Pamela Goodwin is a medical oncologist who provides clinical consultation to breast cancer patients

She has been involved with breast cancer research for over 20 years, focusing on the role of lifestyle and genetic factors in the development and clinical course of breast cancer. She has identified insulin as an important growth factor in women with breast cancer.

One of Dr Goodwin's studies showed that breast cancer patients' participation in support groups helped with psychological distress, but did not influence survival

In a 2008 study, Dr. Goodwin uncovered a link between vitamin D deficiency and poor prognosis of breast cancer

Holds the Marvelle Koffler Chair in Breast Research

Major Research Activities

Dr. Goodwin has focused her research activities in the area of breast cancer. She has a longstanding interest in the role of obesity and nutrition-related factors in breast cancer development and recurrence. Dr. Goodwin has recently turned her attention to research into strategies to reduce the impact of obesity and other lifestyle factors on breast cancer outcomes, focusing on weight loss and the potential impact of metformin, an insulin lowering drug commonly used to treat diabetes, on breast cancer outcomes.