Kelowna, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation has kicked off a $3.5 million fundraising campaign to establish a first-ever Chair in Brachytherapy and launch an innovative research program that will transform care for people facing cancer in the Interior, and local communities have already shown an incredible outpouring of support.

A group of seven donors from the region have made significant personal donations totaling $1.9 million for the Chair in Brachytherapy, set to innovate and grow this life saving treatment program.

People treated at BC Cancer – Kelowna experience some of the best care in the world, but cancer is evolving and so is the way we treat it.

Today BC Cancer – Kelowna is a world-renowned leader in brachytherapy, a form of treatment that delivers a radiation dose directly to a tumour site internally via implanted seeds. Brachytherapy is quick, highly effective and prevents side effects and damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

In fact, brachytherapy is now proven to be more effective and less harmful than standard external beam radiation therapy. It is expected that up to 15,000 cancer patients will require brachytherapy over the next decade.

The Chair in Brachytherapy will lead a world-class program that will usher in a new era of excellence, propelling leading-edge innovations at BC Cancer – Kelowna and change outcomes for people facing cancer.

"We want to save absolutely everyone and research is our engine of hope," says Dr. Ross Halperin, executive medical director, BC Cancer – Kelowna.

Communities across the Interior are already rallying together – an incredible $1.9M has been raised by local donors, including: Anita Finlay, the Jacobs Family, Dorothy Mills, the James Mills Memorial Fund, Gary Parmar, Jim and Laverne Popowich and the Ken and Teresa Sargent Charitable Foundation.

The Chair’s program will also pursue a research initiative to better understand how to define and target specific areas of cancer, using Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques. This project will lead to the widespread adoption of image-guided brachytherapy across B.C.

This work will save lives, just like Robert Lister’s.

When the 77-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he was given a list of the treatment options available, including: prostate removal, invasive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and brachytherapy, an approach Robert was initially unfamiliar with.

He was explained the side effects he would face with brachytherapy – for three months he would be considered radioactive, in which he would have to avoid any close interactions with others (like cuddling with his grandchildren) and travel would also be restricted.

But the emphasis was always on continuing to “live a normal life,” according to Robert.

Robert decided brachytherapy was the best fit for him and was admitted to BC Cancer – Kelowna.

Once the procedure was over, Robert was convinced he had made the right decision in regards to his course of treatment.

“I was pleased to not be experiencing any pain or nausea,” he says. “I felt relieved, confident and very positive that the procedure would be successful.”

Robert hopes sharing his story helps inspire others to show support in establishing the first-ever Chair in Brachytherapy and provide new hope for patients impacted by cancer across the Interior.

He also hopes his personal experience offers reassurance to those who are currently facing prostate cancer.

“My hope is that my positive experience will widen options for others,” he says. “Regardless of what action you choose, there is life after prostate cancer.” 

To learn more and to give today, please visit: http://www.bccancerfoundation.com/BrachytherapyChair

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Media contact:

Melissa Rottare 
Communications Coordinator 
BC CANCER FOUNDATION 
melissa.rottare@bccancer.bc.ca  
c: 604.790.1189