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Early Detection Research at the BC Cancer Agency

July 16, 2015

Hello, Dr. Rasika Rajapakshe here and I am glad to be back for Week 2 as the BC Cancer Foundation’s guest blogger! Today I will be touching on my work at the BC Cancer Agency and our Early Detection Research Group.

I am currently a Senior Medical Physicist at the BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior. My work focuses on the planning of radiation treatments for cancer patients: ensuring that radiation beams are delivered in the correct location to effectively treat the disease while minimizing the damage to surrounding tissues. I also work with the Screening Mammography Program to maintain quality assurance of digital mammography sites around the province.

Outside of my clinical work, I also participate in research. In 2008, I founded the Early Detection Research Group, which hires motivated students to work on new solutions for problems related to the early detection of cancer. Each year I build a trans-disciplinary team of researchers and students, which helps to broaden our knowledge base and skillset.

To give you an idea of our research, one of the first clinical tools we developed was MammoQC, a provincial web-service that automates the quality assurance of mammography sites in B.C.

The Early Detection Research Group is also currently developing:

  • a micro-simulation model for breast cancer patients,
  • an electronic dashboard that allows oncologists to view and query patient information,
  • software to calculate breast density using mammograms,
  • evaluation of lung cancer patient wait times,
  • the use of micro-CT technology in the differential diagnosis of lung cancer, which provides very high resolution – 100x better than regular CT images,
  • an online platform for the collection of long-term patient-reported outcomes,
  • software that simulates external beam radiation treatments to predict potential machine and patient collisions (currently in clinical use! See this video for more information).

Tune in next week to learn more about our research efforts and involvement with the BC Cancer Foundation!