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Remembering Sindi Hawkins

As you may have heard, yesterday we lost our dear friend Sindi Hawkins. Sindi was a champion, an ambassador and a leading light for the BC Cancer Foundation and for the cancer cause. Without a doubt, Sindi made a difference in the lives of many cancer patients and their families. Sindi became a cancer advocate and fundraiser long before her own diagnosis with the disease. She created the Sindi Hawkins and Friends Charity Golf Tournament to help fund the opening of the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the Southern Interior – which has now been re-named in her honour. She helped fund the first-...

Radioisotopes and cancer imaging

Performing PET/CT scans is not simply a matter of purchasing a machine and installing it into a hospital room. We must produce the very short-lived radioactive tracers (radioisotopes), which we use to detect cancer, in close proximity. Since they are radioactive, these tracers disappear spontaneously very quickly, within a matter of minutes to hours. While this short time frame can pose logistical hurdles, it is ultimately a good thing, as we can make useful images without harming patients since the radioactivity goes away very quickly. In addition, we don’t leave any radioactive byproduct...

What’s a PET/CT scan?

As a nuclear medicine physician, I help patients by reading a special type of scan to detect cancers called a PET/CT scan. PET stands for “positron emission tomography” while CT stands for “computed tomography.” A PET scan is extremely sensitive — it can measure tiny amounts of radioactive material that show how organs function, all the way to the level of molecules and cellular biochemistry. By using trace amounts of glucose (sugar), which the cells (including tumours) metabolize, it has been shown that PET scans are so sensitive, they detect even small cancers. A PET/CT scanner The CT scan...

Meet Dr. François Bénard

My name is François Bénard and I am a clinician-scientist at the BC Cancer Agency . I am a joint employee between the BC Cancer Agency and the University of British Columbia (UBC), where I am a Professor in the Department of Radiology, and the Academic Head of the Division of Nuclear Medicine. My position is supported by a research chair called the “BC Leadership Chair in Functional Cancer Imaging.” This research chair was funded by the BC Cancer Foundation (through generous donations) and the BC Government (through the Leading Edge Endowment Fund ). I am really grateful to both of these...

Making strides in ovarian cancer research

As part of our new Partners in Discovery blog, we want to give you as much opportunity as possible to hear directly from clinicians and researchers. So I’m going to turn this posting over to Dr. David Huntsman, Director of the Ovarian Cancer Research or OvCaRe Program to tell you about his team’s exciting breakthrough in ovarian cancer, published today. Warm regards, Doug This week in the New England Journal of Medicine , we published a paper describing never-before-seen mutations in a gene in two types of ovarian cancer – clear-cell carcinoma and endometrioid cancer. Both of these cancers...

Unveiling our new Partners in Discovery blog

I’m excited to share our new Partners in Discovery blog with you. Partners in Discovery represents our partnerships with the people who are helping us achieve our vision of a world free from cancer – donors, their families, and the bright minds at the BC Cancer Agency. The BC Cancer Foundation is the bridge between the BC Cancer Agency and our donors, bringing them together to enable direct improvements to patient care and treatment. So, our blog is going to reflect that. We want to give our readers and our donors a “behind the scenes” look at how funds are being used, and the results of...

One step closer to personalized medicine

There’s exciting news coming out of the Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) today that brings us one step closer to the goal of realizing personalized medicine in our lifetime. Personalized medicine means that the entire spectrum of cancer control – from prevention and screening to treatment and survival – can be individually prescribed, based on your unique genetic make-up. Today, in the journal Genome Biology , researchers at the GSC published the first documented case in the world where genomic sequencing of a cancerous tumour was used to help doctors decide on a course of treatment and choice of...

Running in our undies

The weather was perfect Saturday night for our fifth annual Underwear Affair where 925 participants raised $552,500 for cancers below the waist, such as prostate, colorectal, uterine and ovarian cancers, among others. But those of you who have participated in the Underwear Affair know that the fundraising is only half of it – because you all put so much work into your outfits for the evening. In fact, I was amazed at just how daring some of the costumes were (i.e. the guy in the “Borat” bathing suit). I can’t imagine running 10 km in that! Thank you to everyone who participated, donated and...

Model citizens raise funds for cancer

Last night was a blast! Thanks to the wonderful people at CHMB AM1320 , the BC Cancer Foundation was the charity partner for the second year in a row in the ITM-NSR Model Look North America 2010 . I have to say, it was a fun event. Even actor Steven Seagal was in attendance for the Finale Show, apparently to ask some of the models to appear in his next movie. The 20 finalists competed for the chance to represent North America at the New Silk Road modeling competition in China and launch a career in fashion modelling. Our congratulations to the winner – 17-year-old Alexia Fast of Vancouver,...

Strength in numbers

What a weekend! The second Ride to Conquer Cancer was an overwhelming success, with 2,252 riders raising $9.2 million for cancer research right here in British Columbia. This was all made possible by all the riders and their generous donors and supporters, as well as the amazing Ride crew and volunteers. Thank you to all the cancer patients and survivors who rode with their yellow flags – you were truly an inspiration to all of us. Thank you to everyone involved – you made the 2010 Ride the historic and memorable event it was. Last year, I had just joined the Foundation when the Ride took...

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