Radiation Oncologist; Chief Medical Informatics Officer; Chair, Provincial Head and Neck Tumour Group

Welcome back to my third blog post. In my first two installments, I wrote a little about myself, the BC Cancer Agency, and what makes us so unique compared to other cancer hospitals and research organizations.

Because the BC Cancer Agency is a provincial program that provides screening services, cancer treatments and supportive care to everyone in B.C. and the Yukon, we are able to ask very interesting questions on a very large scale, including outcomes research and clinical trials. This type of research is very difficult if you only have a small number of patients to study. Additionally, through our linkages to the Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Research Centre, public universities and other groups, we are able to do groundbreaking projects with exciting results that often make the headlines in newspapers, TV and major scientific journals.

However, providing excellent care and conducting groundbreaking research takes more than just a great idea. These initiatives often require a combination of people, time, equipment - and financial support. Fortunately, we are lucky to have a strong relationship with our fundraising partner, the BC Cancer Foundation. The Foundation works closely with clinicians and researchers to keep a finger on the pulse of all the activities we are involved in, or hope to start in the future. The Foundation has supported a number of research initiatives in the Lung and Head & Neck Tumour Groups, including our provincial Outcomes and Surveillance Integration System (OaSIS) project which allows us to study whether or not certain treatments work, and what happens to patients afterwards. This, and other important projects, would not be possible without your generous support.

I am often asked by friends, family and patients, how they can help support research at the BC Cancer Agency. When this happens, I direct them to the BC Cancer Foundation, where friendly representatives will meet with potential donors, people like you, to talk about how they can help. Sometimes, donors know exactly what types of projects they want to support. Most of the time, however, all they know is they want to help, but are unsure how. This is where our Foundation is so helpful. They will sit down with potential donors, and talk about everything from what their interests are, to what possible projects they could support. I think of them as our “guidance counsellors” for cancer research.

If you are curious about what research is being done at the BC Cancer Agency, or have a desire to help in any way, give them a call. You’ll never know what you might learn!

See you next week!