The Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation is pushing for access to genetic testing for all cancer patients with an additional donation to Princess Margaret

$1.5 million donation supports universal genetic testing for cancer patients

TORONTO, June 23, 2022 /CNW/ – The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is delighted to announce that the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation has made an additional donation $1.5 million donation to the Family Cancer Clinic at Princess Margaret Cancer Center to continue advancing the shared vision of empowering every cancer patient at Princess Margaret and across the province of Ontario to have access to genetic tests for the early detection of cancer. With this additional donation, the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation has contributed $2.5 million to support hereditary cancer research and screening.

The Family Cancer Clinic, newly named the Bhalwani Family Cancer Clinic in recognition of their donation, is from Canada largest genetics clinic dedicated to cancer patients. Led by dr. Raymond Kimmedical geneticist and Director, Cancer Early Detection, the clinic offers genetic counseling and risk assessment services to people with a personal history of cancer or at high risk for inherited cancers, enabling early detection and personalized care.

With support from the most recent gift from the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation, Dr Kim is leading a universal genetic screening program with 1,300 breast cancer patients at Princess Margaret’s Breast Site Group, the largest and most comprehensive breast cancer research and care center Canada. The aim will be to demonstrate that universal genetic testing can lead to the identification of cancer susceptibility genes that would otherwise have gone undetected, allowing for earlier intervention and better patient outcomes. During the study, patients will undergo a simple blood or saliva test as part of their standard treatment to screen for dozens of genes responsible for hereditary cancers and other syndromes.

“We are at a turning point in personalized medicine where expensive genetic testing now costs a few dollars per gene. Instead of relying on family trees, we can use upfront genetic testing to identify high-risk families,” says Dr. Kim.

“With cancer stubbornly remaining the number one killer of Canadians and the number of new cancer cases expected to increase by 40% between 2015 and 2030, now is the time to get ahead of cancer,” says the doctor. Miyo Yamashita, President and CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. “Genetic testing is a non-invasive early detection tool that needs to be used more widely. We are grateful for the generous donation from the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation which will change the lives of Canadians today and set a precedent for the importance and future of genetic testing.

The donation will also establish the Bhalwani Family Compassionate Fund to provide financial support to cancer patients who request genetic testing and who do not meet the funding criteria established by the Ontario Ministry of Health or who do not don’t have access to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), which means they have to pay out of pocket for the test.

“By leveraging The Princess Margaret’s renowned expertise and infrastructure, we have been able to help create a comprehensive family cancer clinic and fill an important clinical gap,” commented Arif N. Bhalwani, Director, The Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation. “This clinic advances the awareness of genetic cancers and makes detection a path to a cure. Hereditary cancers have touched our family and we hope that genetic testing for cancer will become the norm so that we can have a length of life. advance with better treatment options and significantly improve survival rates.”

In 2019, the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation made a visionary investment in cancer genetics at Princess Margaret with a $1 million donation to establish the Bhalwani Family Hereditary Cancer Fund. Supporting the establishment and operation of the clinic, the donation has resulted in a 30% increase in the number of patients seen over the past three years and enabled the establishment of a 100% virtual genetics clinic in response to the pandemic.

About the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation is from Canada the world’s largest and most important cancer charity, dedicated to raising funds for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top five cancer research centers in the world, known for its groundbreaking scientific achievements and its exceptional treatment and care for patients. Through philanthropy, events, our world-class door-to-door lottery program, and marketing initiatives, we make possible the critical funding needed to accelerate cancer research, education, and clinical care—to benefit patients at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center throughout Canada and the world.

About Princess Margaret Cancer Center

The Princess Margaret Cancer Center has earned an international reputation as a world leader in the fight against cancer and the delivery of personalized cancer medicines. Princess Margaret, one of the top five cancer research centers in the world, is a member of the University Health Network (UHN), which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Michener Institute for Education. The UHN is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About the Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation

The Bhalwani Family Charitable Foundation (BFCF) is based in Toronto, Canada and invests in human potential and improving the quality of life of children, immigrants and marginalized communities. BFCF seeks to sponsor research and programs that are underfunded or overlooked, but which can have significant impacts quickly.

SOURCE Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

For further information: Stacey Sheehan, Senior Communications Coordinator, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, 437-220-5751, [email protected]

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