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Medication Matters: Introducing Our Newest Scientist, Dr. Mary De Vera

For most people, a battle with cancer might bring with it a new found respect for health care and research, or an in-depth understanding of a disease. For Dr. Mary De Vera, a diagnosis with colorectal cancer at 36 was the start of a whole new program of research into the prevalence of this disease across populations and the effectiveness of screening programs.

Before her medical leave, Dr. De Vera, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was developing a strong program of research in pharmacoepidemiology, which is the patterns of use and effects of drugs in different populations.

“My experience as a patient inspired me to start doing health outcomes research in colorectal cancer once I returned from my leave,” she explained “I had the background in health services, epidemiology, and administrative data so I was able to apply it to colorectal cancer.”

Her work in this type of cancer, with she calls her “passion project” has been in collaboration with CHÉOS Scientists and colorectal surgeons Drs. Carl Brown and Manoj Raval. In fact, Dr. Raval was her surgeon during her treatment at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“The surgeons at St. Paul’s do really great work and I’m excited to be able to work with them more closely in this area now that I’ve joined CHÉOS,” she said.

A collaboration between these researchers was published earlier this year, showing that the incidence of colorectal cancer increases incrementally as age increases, adding important information to discussions about the age at which we begin screening for this disease.

Later this month, Dr. De Vera is speaking at the first ever Colorectal Cancer Canada Community Conference on her experiences as a patient and researcher in early-age colorectal cancer.

This story originally appeared on the CHEOS website. Read it here.