Dr. Stephen Lam is an award-winning scientist whose research on the early detection of lung cancer is saving lives. He’s currently conducting international lung screening trials to reduce deaths from lung cancer and to determine who will benefit the most from early screening.
What first interested you in the practice of Oncology?
I’ve worked for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) since 1979. I became interested in lung cancer because it is not only a major cancer in Canada but also worldwide. Lung cancer survival rates are very poor. When I first began my work in the 1970’s, survival rates were around 12% or less and even now, survival rates are less than 18%. That’s why I became interested in early detection and improving the outcomes for patients with lung cancer.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s the people at VCH – doctors like John Mayo, John Yee and John English. We work together and have many kinds of expertise that we utilize to work toward a common goal. I’m proud that through our collaboration we can achieve what other centres have not been able to accomplish nationally and internationally.
Why is it important for donors to support the work that you do?
We are always grateful to people who donate to support us, because their donations help us to detect and treat lung cancer early. Donations also help us to leverage other research grants and collaborate with other researchers. Because of these grants, we can expand our work globally. We are currently working with groups doing studies in Australia and in Hong Kong, so donations allow us to work with other researchers internationally.
How do you like to spend your days off?
I like to be outdoors and to take walks in the park with my family, especially my daughter who’s now going to University in Toronto.
Tell us one thing (personally or professionally) that we might be surprised to find out about you?
I don’t have any secrets, so…