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Reflecting on the Pace of Cancer Discovery

In his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of cancer, “The Emperor of All Maladies,” Siddhartha Mukherjee quotes the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” to describe perfectly how clinical cancer research must move: “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” I find myself reflecting on this quote very often. Cancer cells arise from us – they evolve and become resistant in response to every treatment that we have devised so far. So we keep working fastidiously to either overcome this resistance or to find a new approach that might eliminate the cancer...

B.C. Clinical Trials: A Unique Approach Achieves Results

Yesterday started off well but ended poorly. I saw Chris for his regular visit – he’d just returned from a vacation with his family and it was wonderful to see the pictures. He’d also just had another CT scan which showed further shrinkage of his cancer, so we were all pretty happy. At the end of my clinic I saw another young man who was not faring nearly as well, and who was now facing the reality that there simply are no good options left to knock his cancer down. Over my career, I’ve realized that while the thrill of success keeps me going, I also know that we will always have...

Finding New Hope Through Clinical Trials

As a medical oncologist, I specialize in treating about five cancer types, and the main focus of my current research is in bladder cancer. I’d like to describe a couple of the clinical trials we have been involved in lately. The first is a study comparing new immunotherapy treatments to our current standard of chemotherapy. Under normal circumstances our body’s immune system is constantly surveilling our cells and getting rid of damaged or mutated cells before they can cause trouble or become cancers. Therefore, when cancers grow in our bodies they must figure out a way to “hide” from the...

Achieving Great Things in B.C., Thanks to Donors

It’s an honour and privilege to be invited back as a BC Cancer Foundation guest blogger. It is hard to believe that it has already been four years since my first foray into blogging. Much has changed since then: I can finally say that I am a Vancouverite, as my family and I have settled into our new home; I have established a busy practice with a focus on bladder cancer; and some of the research projects I am involved in are developing well (more on that later). A few important things have also stayed the same (or improved). Under combined new leadership, both the BC Cancer Foundation and the...

Introducing January Guest Blogger Dr. Bernie Eigl

I’d like to thank Sarah Sample and Paula Myers for closing out 2016 with insightful blog posts about progress happening at the BC Cancer Agency’s Patient and Family Counselling program. Their efforts are having a significant impact for families facing cancer. I’m so pleased to introduce our first blogger of the new year, Dr. Bernie Eigl. A medical oncologist and Provincial Director of Clinical Trials, Dr. Eigl is no stranger to the Foundation’s blog – he first shared stories of his work with our readers four years ago. Over the next few weeks, Dr. Eigl will update us on the province-wide...

A Few Thoughts from Patients

Hello, it’s Paula here again! Since I last wrote, I asked a few patients to contribute to the blog and share their thoughts about Patient and Family Counselling at the BC Cancer Agency: “ When cancer comes calling and your life is falling into more pieces than Humpty Dumpty, Patient and Family Counselling is there to help get you back up on that wall. I spent many an hour learning how to grieve the old, deal with the new and carry on with the unknown over my time with them. The Doctors and staff have your health issues in their capable hands, but Patient and Family Counselling helps you to...

The Gift of Mindfulness

In the previous blog post, Paula told you that she can’t compare to my experience and wisdom. I have to say, everyone that I have met from my first day working at the BC Cancer Agency—patients, families and colleagues—has contributed to my experience and wisdom and inspired me to take pride in what I do. One major source of pride has been teaching Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Vancouver Centre for the past sixteen years. Mindfulness has been a gift for me in my personal life and it is deeply connected with my work. My presence with myself and others promotes empathy and compassion...

A desire to help

I am delighted to be co-blogging with Sarah Sample this month! I can’t compare to Sarah’s experience and wisdom, but just like our patients, we all bring something a little different to what we do. I started off working in the Fraser Valley Centre about 10 years ago and loved the focus on patient centred care and ongoing learning. However, the commute was not good for my own “wellness” and when the chance came to work closer to home, I took it! We talk to patients and families so much about self-care and compassion and like everyone who works so hard here at the BC Cancer Agency, we sometimes...

Wherever you go, there you are

“Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that’s what’s on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, “Now what?” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn I have been working with Patient and Family Counselling, at the BC Cancer Agency’s Vancouver Centre for almost 25 years—the last five as a clinical coordinator. I have taken a rather serendipitous path getting here, and am so glad and...

Introducing December Guest Bloggers: Sarah Sample and Paula Myers

I am delighted to introduce Sarah Sample and Paula Myers as this month’s guest bloggers. This dynamic duo is integral to the BC Cancer Agency’s Patient and Family Counselling program. Sarah is currently the Program’s practice leader, and has worked with patients and families for almost 25 years. Prior to working in oncology, she worked in radio and television for 13 years, and afterwards, while pursuing a music degree, she changed faculties to Social Work and Family Studies. Paula’s extensive career has included working with youth, addictions, mental health and now psychosocial oncology. She...

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