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My journey to radiation oncology at BC Cancer

June 8, 2017

My name is Dr. Roy Ma and I work as a radiation oncologist here at BC Cancer. It is a pleasure to be your guest blogger this month. I’ll be blogging about my work with VERO – the most technologically advanced radiotherapy delivery system that is now installed at BC Cancer. It’s an incredible feat made possible thanks to the generosity of donors to the BC Cancer Foundation.

First, I’d like to introduce myself and share with you my journey to the BC Cancer Agency.

I was born in Hong Kong and moved to Vancouver when I was eleven. I went to high school here and then went on to UBC for both undergrad and medical school. But it was only halfway through medical school that I stumbled on this field known as radiation oncology. I was always very interested in math and physics but when I was in medical school I didn’t really understand what medicine was all about. I was halfway through my medical degree when I had the sudden realization that maybe I was on the wrong path.

But that’s when radiation oncology saved me. I did an elective in my third year in the field and really liked it. When I finished medical school, I decided to apply for a residency here and became a radiation oncologist.

There are many things that I like about working here. First and foremost, I really enjoy working with cancer patients. Cancer is a very real issue. It’s not like you can cure every single patient, but you can help each of them in some capacity along their journey. Sometimes it is with their physical health, but other times it’s emotional or spiritual support. That’s an important component – you can make what could be a brutal journey for a patient into one that is full of comfort and reassurance. I believe that is what makes working here such a rewarding experience.

Next week, I’ll discuss the importance of VERO and how it will help us change the standard of care for cancer patients here in British Columbia.

Thanks for reading,