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chairman

Message from Chairman 

The establishment of the Hong Kong Hereditary Breast Cancer Family Registry (THE REGISTRY) laid a foundation for Hong Kong’s cancer care. In the past, availability of Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (HBOC) was lacking in Hong Kong and many Asian countries. After 13 years of work, we have now established one of the most comprehensive database and bio bank of HBOC in Chinese population. Besides providing local high-risk individuals with genetic testing, we also constantly monitor the progress in cancer genetics and see if there are new clinical interventions for better disease management. We are delighted to see that the standard of care for breast and ovarian cancer patients is improving gradually.

Foreseeing the importance of knowing more about genetics in HBOC in Chinese ethnicity, THE REGISTRY collects medical information not only on cancer patients but also their family members and such data is important to the research in HBOC. In collaboration with the University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital, THE REGISTRY pioneers research in Chinese population. We work with worldwide leading centers to perform research internationally to better understand the risk and causes of HBOC and improve preventative and management options. Over the years, the role of THE REGISTRY has expanded from being a modality for research to supporting more aspects relating to HBOC in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Government’s Cancer Expert Working Group on Cancer Prevention and Screening (CEWG) has referenced much of our research work and publications to produce the recommendations for screening for women at increased risk of breast cancer in Hong Kong. Moreover, based on this work I have also had the opportunity to become a member of the Cancer Coordinating Committee Member of Working Group on Colorectal and Breast Cancer Screening for High Risk Groups, Food and Health Bureau.

In the Policy Address 2020, the Chief Executive of HKSAR has announced that based on the latest recommendations of the CEWG of the Cancer Co-coordinating Committee on breast cancer screening, the Government will adopt a risk-based approach for breast cancer screening. The Department of Health will provide breast cancer screening for eligible women having regard to their risk of developing breast cancer. We are in the process of liaising with the Hospital Authority to incorporate High-Risk Breast Programme formally in the public health sector with reference to THE REGISTRY’s High-Risk Breast Surveillance Programme. Eventually, the work of THE REGISTRY contributes to the health policy making and therefore benefits our population.

THE REGISTRY initiated the Free BRCA Ovarian Cancer Drug Programme in 2018. The targeted drug has prolonged the lives of ovarian cancer patients. THE REGISTRY’s drug programme has facilitated doctors to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the drug. In October 2020, the Drug Advisory Committee (DAC) of Hospital Authority has approved the listing of this drug on HA pharmacy. The other good news is that the targeted therapy is now indicated for use in breast cancer patients.In the hope of benefiting more patients, we are also in progress of planning a similar programme for BRCA breast cancer and look forward to launching it soon.

Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent, not only do medical personnel need to keep up to date with the advances, but also the community has the basic knowledge or at least should be aware of the existence of the disease and hence will seek medical advice early. Hence, we advocate a lot of public education and awareness to improve the knowledge of hereditary cancers in the general public, allowing motivations of self-referrals and training of specialized personnel. With the unprecedented change in the environment, many of our education programmes went “Virtual” for the first time this year such as the Breast Concern Action and Pink Run. Despite the change, the programmes have gained a wider audience exposure through the online channels.

Without your support, the differences and impact THE REGISTRY can achieve would have never flourished. Your donations help those underprivileged patients to access genetic testing and clinical services; also support important research which can be translated into clinical care. We really appreciateyour unfailing support and much so as this year has been a very difficult year for Hong Kong, and we look forward to having you as our partners once again to save more lives of those who are at the highest risk.

 

Chairman

Professor Ava Kwong