Medical Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Centre

As an oncologist, I believe my responsibility is not only to treat my patients with the best care available but also to advocate for increased awareness and support. Every year, I look forward to participating in the BC Cancer Foundation’s Underwear Affair. This is a walk/run event that promotes cancers below the waist. It is amazing to witness the spirit and energy of patients, their families and friends, as they run through Vancouver in their underwear! They also raise much needed dollars to support research and care right here in B.C. In collaboration with the Foundation, we also hold an annual Colorectal Cancer Patient Education Forum, where health care providers from across the province make themselves available to provide information and answer questions. The most recent one was earlier this month, in good timing because  March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. I want to take this opportunity to also thank the Foundation and all the Inspiration Gala supporters who raised almost $1.3 million to help advance research and clinical trials for colorectal cancer in 2009. The BC Cancer Agency is uniquely positioned to make new discoveries and constantly push the leading edge so that new and more effective treatment options can be offered to patients. I often get asked, “Why did you choose oncology as a career? And why at the BC Cancer Agency?” I hope through the course of my blog I’ve given you a sense of why I am grateful that I get to do what I do and why I value being able to do it at the Agency. As a provincial organization dedicated to cancer care and research, I think our strength is our focus and teamwork. As Chair of our Gastrointestinal (GI) Tumour Group, I get to witness first-hand how a collaborative approach among scientists, pathologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists is so integral to improving cancer care. And the team that is needed to deliver good cancer care is even greater — from our volunteers, to our clerks, technicians, pharmacists and nurses — everyone is key to making this happen! Sharlene