It might come as a surprise, but I never really considered a career in medicine until my third year of university. I wanted to be an accountant, but it all changed when I developed mono and had to visit a number of doctors.

It was during one of the visits that I realized that a career helping people who were unwell would be challenging and rewarding, so I switched from accounting and applied to medical school.

Even then, I never imagined cancer to be my focus. At medical school, there was very little exposure to Oncology in the curriculum. My main interests at the time were Cardiology and Gastroenterology.

That all changed when I did a two-month rotation at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, now known as Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

I was inspired both by the opportunity to work with cancer patients, and how well the team at the hospital worked together to support and care for patients.

When I later came on staff at the hospital, it was clear that cancer treatments needed to be much better and safer. This was really what motivated me to focus my research program on developing better cancer therapies.

Whenever I visited B.C., I was always impressed by the passion and commitment of the staff at BC Cancer Agency and the research centres. I was excited to join the Agency, as I did last fall, because of its model of a patient-centred and integrated cancer care and research system. It’s very unique, and I saw great potential.   

Being close to the patients has always been important to me. That’s why I was happy to return recently to clinical practice one day a week. I missed seeing patients and also feel that working in a clinical setting will give me a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts and ideas over the next month.

Malcolm