Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency

Welcome to my Partners in Discovery Blog. My name is Scott Tyldesley. I am a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency.  I grew up in Port Moody B.C., and trained in medicine and radiation oncology right here in beautiful B.C.

It has been 20 years since I first rotation in medical school in radiation oncology at the BC Cancer Agency. I still remember the excitement of realizing what I wanted to do with the rest of my professional life after this exposure to the level of clinical and research excellence the Agency delivers. I had some great initial mentors then, many of whom have become very good friends and colleagues. Most of all it was the care provided—both curative and palliative in intent—for the patients that drew me to radiation oncology at the Agency. I have also been a scientist at heart for most of my life and love the thrill of scientific discovery, asking questions, whether in the lab or the clinic, and coming up with ways of trying to answer those questions.

 I started residency in 1994, during which I spent about a year in Dr. Andrew Minchinton’s radiobiology lab studying the effects of debulking surgery (removing part of a cancerous tumour to improve the effectiveness of treatment) on tumour growth and sensitivity to radiation. This exposed me to the power of linking research scientists with clinicians. I was also exposed to the power of population based research with one of my mentors Dr. Ivo Olivotto who had just started the Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit, which was to become a very important part of my own subsequent research career. After residency I spent two years at Queens University working with Dr. Bill Mackillop, another of my main mentors, working on my masters thesis developing a method of estimating the need for a cancer service at a population level.

Over the next decade I built up a very busy clinical practice from which I have drawn many clinical questions. One area stemming from the practicalities of clinical work is clinic operations: how the clinic runs, and ways of delivering care more efficiently. Together with John French, our director of operations in radiation oncology, and Marty Puterman from the Sauder School of Business at UBC we developed a grant funded research team bringing advanced analytics to the BC Cancer Agency. I have since been awarded a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research which has allowed me to dedicate more time to research as the chair of the Breast Cancer Outcomes Unit and as clinical leader on the operations research team in cancer care. I look forward to sharing the experience in these areas over the month ahead and how you can help support such research through the BC Cancer Foundation.

Scott