Expanding the Allard Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic

The Allard Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in Alberta.

Located within the Lois Hole Hospital for Women (LHHW) at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH), the clinic provides risk assessment and surveillance for women who are at high risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer.


At least 1.3 million Canadians have risky cancer genes, but more than 90% are not aware of their risk. Identifying these genes is the key to higher survival rates as identification informs intervention options—and by the above statistic, approximately 160,000 Albertans have these cancer genes.

Within the context of the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and the specialized services it offers women under one roof, the Allard HBOC Clinic is uniquely positioned to support an enhanced model for women’s health for those patients with positive markers.

However, the Allard HBOC Clinic is currently limited by space and support staff to address the current waitlist and wait times.


Currently, the Allard HBOC Clinic operates two half-days per week. There are five physicians and one Nurse Practitioner working in the clinic.

The clinic sees eight new patients a week, or 32 new patients per month. The clinic has started seeing new patients virtually, which provided the opportunity to see more patients per month.

Despite this, the Allard HBOC Clinic’s patient waitlist continues to grow—and wait times have risen, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each month, there are about 50 new referrals to the clinic.

In its current state, the clinic is just keeping up with new referrals and not shortening the waitlist.

Thus, the Allard HBOC Clinic seeks to expand its capacity and role in the following innovative and impactful ways:

  1. Enhance genetic testing
  2. Expand care from referral visits to post-treatment follow-ups
  3. Establish a database and enhance education for providers

After being privately funded from 2012-2019, we are pleased to share that Alberta Health now covers the current operational costs of the clinic.

With additional funding, the clinic could drastically decrease wait times for genetic testing for these cancers, support much-needed additional staff to provide improved care to patients, and cultivate a repository of data to support research toward discovering new and improved evidence-based treatment options.


Current wait times for genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers can be as long as three years, with some publicly funded tests not providing results for up to eight months. The clinic has identified a far more expedient solution that provides results within six weeks. With additional funding, the clinic would look to secure an appropriate annual supply of these tests.

Receiving the test results in six weeks would ease patients’ minds and allow medical professionals to make decisions on monitoring, testing, and facilitating surgery faster.

To support the current wait list as well as new referrals, the hospital would aim to hire additional physicians and support staff: namely a number of nursing and clerk support personnel, as well as a genetic counselor.

Seeking to elevate the application and awareness of research in developing new treatments for women’s cancer, the development of a data repository would be hugely beneficial. An educational tool, the repository—and the research it would support—would encourage professional development and grow the expertise of the Allard HBOC Clinic teams to support new treatments, research and care for patients.

To improve and expand the Allard Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Clinic in the above ways, the foundation is seeking philanthropic support in the amount of $3,000,000.

This level of funding would open doors to a sustainable program recognized for its capacity to change and save lives.

Thank you so much to the enormously generous and inspiring support already provided by the Allards, Edmonton Elks Women's Dinner organizers and donors, and Harvest Celebration donors.

If you are able, please assist us in enhancing genetic testing, increasing the clinic’s capacity, and enabling the establishment of a database at the Allard HBOC Clinic.