Interim Provincial Professional Practice Leader, Radiation Therapy, Functional Imaging, Oral Oncology and Surgery, BC Cancer Agency

Working at the BC Cancer Agency is a privilege. It is gratifying to deliver the best care possible to patients, yet challenges remain. We don't have good options for all patients yet and the search for better care tools continues to energize my peers and I. VERO and SABR are an example of this quest. The implementation of this new treatment technology will be done in parallel with our renewed commitment to learn from the lessons that all patient care can teach us. To explore cancers that have yet to be successfully treated with radiotherapy, we are setting up a database to ensure that we record care outcomes for patients treated with SABR and particularly with the VERO machine.  

Outcomes data generates knowledge that will have a significant impact in the coming decades. It directs decision making and empowers tomorrow’s research. For example, outcomes recording proved to us that prostate radiotherapy is more effective for many prostate cancer patients when delivered by brachytherapy rather than the external beam technique. Today's standard of care and research in prostate cancer at the BC Cancer Agency is supported by that outcome-based knowledge.

When some patients have good outcomes and others are less fortunate, outcomes data allows us to explore why. It can be a valuable tool for discovering the underlying causes of cancer and new therapeutic opportunities both within and beyond radiotherapy. The BC Cancer Agency’s provincial radiotherapy program has identified recording patient outcomes for all patients as a primary academic priority, a goal we hope to achieve over the next decade.  

Over the past several weeks, I’ve shared how important VERO and SABR are to improve care options for patients in B.C. today and tomorrow. As important as these tools are, the research work built around the VERO and SABR programs at the BC Cancer Agency is also critical. Research will ensure we have the knowledge to treat the right patients with the right therapeutic options at the right time.

Before closing, I'd like to thank staff at the BC Cancer Agency and the BC Cancer Foundation. It’s a privilege to work with partners so committed and aligned in purpose. Furthermore, thank you to those who've already committed their support to VERO and other projects - we’ve seen an incredible response from supporters across the province. Through your involvement, you elevate the cancer care services available to British Columbians.

Thank you for reading,
Ross