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Expanding cancer care to the north and beyond

My role as a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North will continue to include treating cancer patients mostly with radiation therapy and other treatments as needed. It is important for us to be mindful of, and work hard to understand, any cultural differences when treating and following patients. Northern B.C. communities include a much larger aboriginal population than the rest of B.C. Important work by others in Northern B.C. and at the BC Cancer Agency have identified cultural differences to be aware of when providing cancer screening, treatments and follow-up...

Dr. Robert Olson prepares to join the Centre for the North

Near the end of my residency, I was invited to relocate to the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North as part of a provincial Radiation Therapy Program and be its first radiation oncologist as well an academic physician involved in the Northern Medical Program . From a personal perspective, the move toPrince Georgeappeals to my wife and I because we have always wanted to raise our family of three children in a smaller community – just as we experienced growing up. Professionally, I see a lot of cancer research interest and opportunity in the northern region, and I want to help make patient...

About Dr. Robert Olson, Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North

My name is Rob Olson, and I would like start by thanking you for reading my first ever blog post. From a young age, I have always wanted to pursue medicine – drawn by the opportunity to blend humanitarianism and academic pursuits. I am originally from a small town in Albertaand attended the University of Calgary for my undergraduate and medical degrees. Right from the beginning of medical school I was interested in helping patients with cancer and was originally drawn to the chemotherapy side of care and research. I was then introduced to radiation oncology, where the mix of curative and...

Introducing our July guest blogger, Dr. Robert Olson

As many of you may know, the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the North in Prince George is well underway and slated to open next year. It is an exciting expansion of enhanced patient care for the entire province of B.C. While the centre is being built, the BC Cancer Agency is forming the team of Doctors and clinicians who will begin working there. The first radiation oncologist to join the roster is Dr. Robert Olson, and I am excited to introduce him to you as this month’s guest blogger. Dr. Olson will tell us why he joined the BC Cancer Agency, how he is preparing for the transition into the new...

How I explain my job to my kids: Dragons Are Everywhere

Cancer is a modern day dragon, fully grown to the size of large buildings, complete with flames and magic. Freeing the world of dragons is no easy feat, even with swords, magic spells or weapons. Bombs might work, but they could harm others. If we search for the young dragons, they can be destroyed more easily. The most ideal solution is to simply catch the dragon eggs, where a single action can stop it from hatching. While large dragons are easy to find but hard to kill, young dragons can hide extremely well and eggs, well they can hide almost anywhere. Focusing on hunting dragon eggs is the...

From start to finish: It’s a Team Effort

To take an idea from discovery into the clinic, it takes a large team of researchers and scientists from many disciplines and areas of specialization, clinicians, surgeons, businessmen and advisors. It is truly gratifying to see your work used in clinical practice, but it takes real commitment and belief in a project to sustain the level of effort needed to make it – anywhere between 5 – 10 years of research are required. A good example of this is the team I am fortunate to be part of. We are using light as an early cancer detection mechanism to screen oral tissue. The process began with...

Meet Dr. MacAulay, enthusiastic skier turned research scientist!

Hello, my name is Calum MacAulay and I am a Research Scientist in the Integrative Oncology department at the BC Cancer Agency. The majority of my time is spent doing research, and I am especially motivated in knowing it will make a difference in the patient care and clinical side. I have been fortunate to have great teachers growing up, which shaped my thinking early on. Starting with my Mother, who taught me to read from her astronomy textbooks, and I was encouraged in elementary school to share my father’s work in pathology. Growing up with four active boys in the house, something was...

Discovery Day and introducing Dr. Calum MacAulay

There are two exciting things to share with you this month. We have a new guest blogger, Dr. Calum MacAulay, and later this month is our inaugural Discovery Day event on June 21, 2011. Dr. MacAulay will share his experience as a research scientist in the BC Cancer Agency’s Integrative Oncology department. The work that Dr. MacAulay is a part of is truly fascinating, and focuses largely on early cancer detection and developing devices to do so. He has a great way of explaining what he does, and I hope you find it interesting too. Before I hand over the reins to Dr. MacAulay, I invite you to...

Starting my research at the BC Cancer Agency

I applied for an NCI-C Fellowship while at the University of California at Irvine and was invited by Dr. Lloyd Skarsgard to come up for an interview at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. After the interview, he encouraged me to come to the Agency after my post-doc stint (I got the Fellowship!) I knew I wanted to come back to Canada and settle by the ocean so I didn’t even apply to any other cancer research centres. I drove up to Vancouver with a scrawny, stray Siamese cat that adopted me in California. I named him Brutus to encourage him to get bigger (which he did!) and bought a house in...

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