Published with permission from BC Foundation Foundation
Laurie Rix lost her husband Neil Macrae in 2017 to breast cancer – a disease largely associated with women.
In 2015, a famous Vancouver sportcaster noticed a lump inside his chest that was the size of a golf ball. After showing it to his wife, he suggested that he be examined by a doctor.
The diagnosis shocked them both. Male Breast Cancer: A rare form that will affect more than 200 men in Canada this year.
"When he was diagnosed, it was phase III, so he had to have a mastectomy followed by radiation," Laurie said.
His BC oncologist, Dr. Karen Gelmon, revealed by genetic analysis that Neil had a BRCA2 mutation. Commonly known today as the "breast cancer gene," it also puts men at higher risk of getting other cancers, such as prostate cancer, which Neil later developed.
Through this analysis, Neil the oncologist was able to adapt the treatment plan based on his genetic mutation.
he would continue to face a third type of cancer before he died in 2017 at the age of 65.
"BC Cancer scientists are working to identify mutations and risks early, hoping to prevent breast cancer, for both women and men," Laurie says. "Neil would like all men to know that they are in danger because of this disease."
The Rix family has a long history with BC Cancer and its world-renowned Genome Science Center. In addition to losing her husband, Laurie also lost her father, Dr. Donald Rix, to cancer in 2009.
Dr. Rix was the first ever personalized participant in the oncogenomics program – "Patient X" – who helped fund the project and became the first person in the world to complete gene sequencing for cancer analysis and information.
His belief in the science of genetic sequencing and his commitment to play a role in healing triggered a tidal shift in the way cancer is treated today.
His willingness to participate in the first study has led to more than 1,068 patients enrolled in the program to date and the publication of 25 research papers.
The Rix Foundation generously supported the program at the $ 1.5 million Inspiration 2014 Gala Fund, and in 2017, Laurie donated $ 500,000 to found the Need Macrae Hereditary Cancer Research Fund.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can help change the outcome for women and men facing breast cancer in B.C. Contact Alyson Killam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-877-6160 to learn more.
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