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Contributing to Innovation in Health Care – Part 2

June 15, 2016

Yesterday, I shared how an innovative treatment for breast cancer is being offered in Kelowna, which has the promise to be implemented more widely and benefit more women.

Since the beginning of our Permanent Breast Seed Implants program, we have had exactly this goal in mind: to innovate and evolve the technique to enable widespread clinical implementation. We aim specifically to improve and standardize the technique, so that other centres can adopt the procedure. I’m proud to say that we have already made significant progress. Some of the improvements we have developed include:

  • A standardized way to translate where seeds should be implanted into each patient in the operating room;
  • A way to accurately draw the spot where the lump was removed from the breast on images of the breast to allow for mapping of treatment quality
  • A new way to determine the dose received to the breast skin, where accurate record of dose is critical to avoid unwanted skin changes due to radiation

These innovations have not only improved our treatments, but have been published and presented at national and international meetings, and are now being adopted by other centres starting up their own program.

Our goal of improving Permanent Breast Seed Implants through technical innovation, so that others can adopt the technique is moving right along. But there is still much work to be done.

This leads me into the next topic I’m eager to share with you: the critical role physics trainees play in our ability to progress innovative clinical research. We are making such great progress in Permanent Breast Seed Implants, and it would not be possible without the involvement of young, smart (SO smart!), energetic medical physics trainees. Next week I will describe how, by investing in these amazing young people, the BC Cancer Foundation continues to make innovation possible.