Dr. Juanita Crook
Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior

Blog Posts by Dr. Juanita Crook

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 blog posts

New Horizons: HDR Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer at the BC Cancer Agency

Up until now, my blog posts have told the story of my career and research as it focused on prostate cancer. Before I finish telling my story, I would like to switch gears and talk about breast cancer, especially as it pertains to brachytherapy. I think it is important for women reading this to realize that not all my efforts have been directed at improving cancer treatment and outcomes for men alone. Brachytherapy (the placing of radioactive material directly into a cancer or the region where it was) is also being developed for breast cancer. Breast cancer was initially managed surgically...

New Horizons in HDR Brachytherapy at the BC Cancer Agency

In my last entry I described the first clinical trial completed in Kelowna using HDR prostate brachytherapy. We proved that the ultrasound-based procedure we pioneered is as accurate as the CT-based procedure that has been standard throughout the world for the past decade or more. The ultrasound-based procedure allows patients to receive treatment in a 2 1/2 hour session while comfortably asleep. The next step involved imaging the prostate in order to see the cancer within. You never see the cancer on a CT scan and rarely see it on an ultrasound, but a special adaptation of MRI provides such...

HDR Prostate Brachytherapy: Exciting Advancements through Clinical Trials

In my last post, I referred to two clinical trials involving High Dose Rate prostate brachytherapy that have been made possible through donor support. This week, I'd like to share with you the importance of the first of these trials. Patients often find it hard to relate to clinical studies and the chance for success can be very slim. The reason that people often do participate is because of a desire to help others and add to a knowledge base that will help future patients with their condition. As a researcher, I am extremely grateful for this altruism. Every step, no matter how small it...

HDR Brachytherapy Treatment Comes to the BC Cancer Agency

When I arrived at the BC Cancer Agency in Kelowna in June 2009, a prostate brachytherapy program was already in place. My colleague and program director, Dr. Ross Halperin, had secured two operating days per month at Kelowna General Hospital, adjacent to the cancer centre. More importantly, the BC Cancer Foundation had secured support from generous Kelowna donors to build our own operating suite in the cancer centre. This enormous step, made possible through donor funds, was vital to the growth of the program. Having our own operating facility enabled us to increase operating days from two...

The Origins of Brachytherapy Treatment for Prostate Cancer

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I pursued post-graduate studies in France. I chose France for a number of reasons, but one of the important deciding factors was that it was the home of brachytherapy, the treatment of cancer by placing radioactive material directly into the tumour. France was also where Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive isotope Radium, and where the first clinical applications of Radium to treat cancer occurred. Things have come a long way in the 100 years since these first experiments: we now have much more "user-friendly" isotopes, imaging...

Dr. Juanita Crook: My Beginnings in Radiation Oncology

I grew up in Ontario, attended the University of Toronto for undergraduate studies on a scholarship and continued on with medical school. My father was a high school teacher and thought I should become one too but I had other dreams that didn’t involve teaching school. He always encouraged me to perform to the best of my ability and didn’t oppose my choice, except on one occasion: in grade 12, I wanted to pursue my artistic and creative talents and attend the Ontario College of Art instead of university. He responded by threatening to disown me. I had to admit he was right. Creating good art...