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VERO: a game-changer in cancer treatment

The VERO machine, now installed at BC Cancer, is the most advanced stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) system available in the world. SBRT involves delivering multiple beams of radiation from outside the body in a concentrated (high dose) manner from various directions, effectively targeting a tumour from every possible angle. It’s a highly effective form of treatment for those who have cancers that are hard to address through surgery, such as head and neck cancers, or in cases where a patient’s cancer is surrounded by healthy tissue that can be easily injured with conventional...

My journey to radiation oncology at BC Cancer

My name is Dr. Roy Ma and I work as a radiation oncologist here at BC Cancer. It is a pleasure to be your guest blogger this month. I’ll be blogging about my work with VERO – the most technologically advanced radiotherapy delivery system that is now installed at BC Cancer. It’s an incredible feat made possible thanks to the generosity of donors to the BC Cancer Foundation. First, I’d like to introduce myself and share with you my journey to the BC Cancer Agency. I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver when I was eleven. I went to high school here and then went on to UBC for both...

Introducing June guest blogger Dr. Roy Ma

Thank you to our May guest bloggers Drs. Ryna Levy Milne and Kristin Campbell for sharing with us the importance of healthy eating and exercise during cancer treatment. We are excited about the second phase of the NExT study, which will directly benefit cancer patients across British Columbia. I’m pleased to welcome Dr. Roy Ma, radiation oncologist at BC Cancer, as our June guest blogger. Dr. Roy Ma will share his work with VERO – the most technologically advanced radiotherapy delivery system available today, now installed at BC Cancer. The machine, exclusively funded by our generous donors,...

What's next in cancer research and care

We are gearing up for a second phase of the NExT study. For Phase II, we are working with Dr. Levy-Milne in her role as provincial lead for therapeutic oncology services at BC Cancer Agency on three key next steps with the aim to increase access to this type of exercise and healthy eating programming for cancer survivors in British Columbia. The first step is to hire a clinical exercise physiologist or physiotherapist at the BC Cancer Agency who can act as a provincial resource for both healthcare providers and patients. This individual will ensure the most up to date information is available...

Celebrating the impact of patients on cancer research

The patients who participated in the NExT study offered a wealth of information on what worked and what didn’t work, which informs us on how to proceed with Phase II. For example, part of the study focused on testing new ways to individualize exercise for each patient, according to the ups and downs of chemotherapy treatment. The participants provided feedback at each study visit on whether they met the exercise target for that visit and if not, why not. We have used these results to further refine our approach and, when we present this research, we receive a lot of interest from other...

Testing Nutrition and Exercise During Treatment

My name is Dr. Kristin Campbell and I am thrilled to be blogging alongside my colleague Dr. Ryna Levy Milne this month for the BC Cancer Foundation. My research program is focused on understanding the role of exercise and physical therapy to improve the side effects of cancer treatment and the health of cancer survivors. I am the co-leader of the NExT study alongside Cheri Van Patten, a registered dietitian at the BC Cancer Agency. Our study team also includes Dr. Donald McKenzie, a sports medicine physician at UBC, and Dr. Karen Gelmon, a medical oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency. The...

Controlling Cancer With Diet and Exercise

Currently, the BC Cancer Agency’s therapeutic oncology program conducts research to address lifestyle related issues including nutrition, physical activity and symptom management for people living with cancer. This research is related to rehabilitation, patient safety and risk management from diagnosis through to survivorship and end-of-life. According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, ‘over one third of the most common cancers can be prevented through diet, maintaining a healthy weight and taking regular physical activity’. Research and clinical practice suggest that a patient...

My Unexpected Journey to the BC Cancer Agency

It’s been awhile since I reflected on my career path and how I came to be the provincial lead for therapeutic oncology services at the BC Cancer Agency. My current role provides leadership to the registered dietitians and speech language pathologists working at the Agency. This year, we hope to add exercise specialists and physiotherapists to this group. Besides leadership, my role also supports practice in the areas of clinical care, education, community partnerships and research. So where did I begin my professional journey and what are the many roads that I travelled to land here? (I’m...

Introducing May guest bloggers Drs. Ryna Levy Milne and Kristin Campbell

I’d like to thank our April guest blogger, Dr. Anna Tinker, for sharing her work on the immunotherapy trials planned for ovarian and cervical cancers this year at the BC Cancer Agency. It is, as she says, an exciting time for cancer research and care here in British Columbia. We are thrilled to be supporting this innovative work, which is providing new hope for patients today. I’m pleased to introduce our guest bloggers for the month of May - Drs. Ryna Levy Milne and Kristin Campbell. Dr. Levy Milne is the provincial director of therapeutic oncology services at the BC Cancer Agency, and Dr...

Dr. Tinker: 'Researchers need support to keep moving forward'

In some ways it is unimaginable what remains to be discovered in the field of oncology; however, with the amazing pace of research some recent important advances are pointing the way to the future. An example of this is cancer genomics, the field of studying the genes and mutations of a cancer, has opened our eyes to the complexity of cancers. This complexity is not only evident between individuals, but even within an individual. In other words, it seems easy to understand that two different patients with the same cancer type (for example, two women with colon cancer) may have tumours that...

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