KELOWNA, B.C. November 16, 2011 – Funds raised today at the BC Cancer Foundation’s Inaugural Discovery Luncheon will support an innovative research project and provide hope for prostate cancer patients in British Columbia’s southern interior.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst men in B.C. and today’s event is raising dollars to fund the new High-Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy Pilot Project at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior.

“We are very excited to introduce the Discovery Luncheon in Kelowna, which will support the leading-edge research taking place right here in your community,” says Douglas Nelson, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation, “Bridging philanthropy and research together here today will benefit cancer patients in the southern interior region and beyond.”

The HDR Brachytherapy pilot project is supervised by Dr. Ross Halperin, Professional Practice Leader in Radiation Oncology at the BC Cancer Agency, and led by radiation oncologist and brachytherapy expert Dr. Juanita Crook.

Dr. Halperin says, “This project will serve as a model for how the BC Cancer Agency can introduce this promising form of treatment to prostate cancer patients across the province. Improving treatment options, outcomes and quality of life post-cancer, is a reality when we continue forward with new research initiatives like this.”

Dr. Halperin explains that HDR Brachytherapy sends a precise source of radiation directly to a patient’s tumour through tiny catheters, over one or two treatments, and may have fewer side effects than standard treatments. Dr. Halperin continues, “Because of its precision, HDR Brachytherapy has promise to become a superior treatment alternative for prostate cancer patients.”

Taking place in the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior, this pilot project will benefit patients in the Southern Interior first, and provide new knowledge in best treatment practices around the province.

Ralph Ormerod is living with prostate cancer and was the first to join the pilot project, he shares, “After I was diagnosed, I agreed to be the first patient in this new project. I felt lucky to have access to the BC Cancer Agency and really liked the idea that the treatment was concentrated on specific areas of the tumour and decreased the odds of my cancer metastasizing.”

“Last week I was in for my second follow up appointment, and I’m happy to say I’m in good order—as healthy and active as I’ve ever been. If it wasn’t for Dr. Crook, and the Agency, I wouldn’t have had this option of treatment. I want to continue supporting more research advances for people in the future, like me. “

The Discovery Luncheon received a generous donation from the BMO Bank of Montreal, $10,000 to kick-off the inaugural event and also to the philanthropic support of Mr. Brad Field for his gift of matching donation up to $10,000 during the luncheon.

Sharon Shepherd, Mayor, City of Kelowna, concluded the day by officially proclaiming November 16th as Kelowna’s Discovery Day.

To support the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior’s HDR Brachytherapy Pilot Project please contact the BC Cancer Foundation at 250.979.6652.

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For more information, please contact:

Cynthia Waldek-Peters
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 250.712.3910
c. 250.575.0734
e. cwaldekpeters@bccancer.bc.ca

Allison Colina, Communications Specialist
BC Cancer Foundation
t. 604.707.5934
e. allison.colina@bccancer.bc.ca