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Questions of medicine and science formed half way ‘round the world

My path to a career in science and medicine was convoluted, but not without direction. I grew up in east Africa on an island in the Indian Ocean. Both my maternal grandparents died at very young ages of undiagnosed conditions. While the setting was idyllic, the reason for my grandparents’ deaths, or rather the lack of a reason bothered me.

This great gap in understanding—the causes of...

World Cancer Day and Introducing Dr. Hagen Kennecke

Today is World Cancer Day and many of us are taking time to honour, remember and recognize those who have been affected by this devastating disease. Here in B.C., we are fortunate to have some of the world’s best cancer experts working to solve the molecular mysteries of the disease. With these excellent leaders at the helm, I am confident we will achieve our vision of a world free from cancer...

Close to Home – A Final Patient Story

I selfishly want to add one last post. My vision for BrainCare came to me as an idea simply from treating patients with brain cancer, but I did not have the training, ability or time to make that idea useful. In 2006, I met with Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, then President of the BC Cancer Agency to discuss my conundrum. He introduced me to Susan Egan.

Susan was from the business world, but she...

BrainCare Part II: World-Class Expertise and Technology

Without embellishment, BrainCare has managed to create a brain tumour diagnosis/surgery/treatment paradigm that I believe is unique in the world.  Perhaps this is simply due to the luck of timing, but as they say, the harder you work, the luckier you get.

There are three foundations:

Firstly, the BC Cancer Agency has a world-class Functional Imaging Program. Under the supervision...

BrainCare Part I: Regaining Control and Building Relationships

I could easily recount dozens more stories to help segue into this blog’s description of BrainCare and the BC Cancer Agency’s brain tumour care and research. As you can imagine, 20 years in the operating room chronicles several hundred chapters of triumphs and tragedies. They have all helped formulate our research agenda.

My experience in medicine, and in life, has shown me that fear...

Empowering Brain Cancer Patients Through Knowledge

Today, I’d like to share two patient stories that have had an impact on the direction of brain cancer research and care in B.C.:

About 15 years ago a young man from Whistler, in his late 20s, was struck down by a malignant glioma. I operated on him several times trying to stay ahead of the advancing cells. This was before there was any useful chemotherapy agent to treat brain cancer –...

A Cancer Journey: One Patient's Story

Yes, though I imagined I would have a career clipping aneurysms and removing blood clots, my patients who had brain cancer allured me. In 1996, three years after I graduated from residency, I treated a man who had a malignant glioma – operated twice in fact. He passed away in 1997 but his daughter wrote me a letter in 2000, regarding her father and my involvement.

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Brain Cancer and Research: A Personal Look

I am very happy to be back blogging on behalf of the BC Cancer Foundation, a fun way to launch 2014.

It’s been two years since I last introduced myself though this forum. Things have changed modestly since then; I stepped down as the BC Cancer Agency’s Provincial Chair of Neuro-oncology in the spring of 2013 and have since become the Head of Neurosurgery for the University of British...

Happy New Year and Introducing January Guest Blogger Dr. Brian Toyota

Happy new year and welcome to the first blog post of 2014!

I want to begin by thanking December guest blogger Dr. Anna Tinker for taking us behind the scenes with the BC Cancer Agency’s ovarian cancer research team and the revolutionary SMART project.

We are pleased to welcome back a familiar face for January – neuro-oncologist Dr. Brian Toyota...

One last thing…

It is my tenet, and I use this for my children as well as my students, that one’s objective in any situation is to make it better. To stand back and observe, and then engage in a way that makes it better. It can be a simple game in the schoolyard gone awry or an operating room that has run into catastrophe. Anyone can observe the obvious negatives, and a few can envision positive change, but...

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