Your donations support innovative cancer research and compassionate enhancements to patient care.
Participate or donate to a fundraising event to support breakthrough cancer research in BC.
See how your donations are being used to enable the great work at the BC Cancer Agency to continue.
Read the latest news and research breakthroughs happening at the BC Cancer Agency
You are here
December 2011 Blogs
It is my tenet, and I use this for my children as well as my students, that one’s objective in any situation is to make it better. To stand back and observe, and then engage in a way that makes it better. It can be a simple game in the schoolyard gone awry or an operating room that has run into catastrophe.
Clearly I have over-extended my invitation, so this is my last post (and with 2012 just around the corner, the next blogger is already on standby, I’m told).
I note that there are a lot of “I,” “me,” “my” and “mine” in my posts, but it certainly was not my intent to make this a self-serving exposé on Brian Toyota.
In previous posts, I have directly alluded to the future of cancer treatment and the repetitiveness of this topic, I believe, validates its existence and realistic potential. The future of cancer treatment in general has to do with personalized medicine and molecular or genetic analysis, like Dr.
I like being a brain surgeon. I like my work. The operating room is my office, and I get to say things like “STAT” and “scalpel.” Although, I have never once said “STAT” except to imitate some character on M.A.S.H., and I have always called a “scalpel” a “knife” for reasons I don’t really remember.
Now I’d like to focus on brain surgery. You’ve likely heard the phrase “it ain’t brain surgery” used in a casual conversation, but it’s not to me—it IS brain surgery.
There is a lot of information available about current treatment strategies for brain cancers, but I’d like to touch on just a few points here.
We have expanded our brain tumour team (in the Neuro-Oncology Group) with the addition of patient and family counsellors, nurses, and occupational therapists. These professionals ensure that all facets of care are attended to, including blood tests, X-ray results, wound healing and beyond.
In the Neuro-Oncology Group at the BC Cancer Agency, we are driven to use our experience to improve the flow and breadth of care for patients. It is not sufficient to simply watch hundreds, actually thousands, of reactions to those awful words, “you have brain cancer.” We have used these observations to answer the question: How can we make this situation better?
Though I have spoken those words literally hundreds of times, I don’t really know what it feels like to receive those words. I have, however, seen a stunning emotional range of reactions.
By itself, the term brain tumour is monstrous. And to receive it as a diagnosis is paralyzing.
Our humanity is defined by our brains—a brain tumour is therefore a direct attack on it. All those who have endured a brain tumour, and all those who have witnessed a loved one endure a brain tumour, know this too well.