Radiation therapy

About 55 per cent of patients with cancer receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment. This year, more than 11,000 British Columbians will need radiation therapy, with more than 3,400 patients in Vancouver alone.

Radiation therapy uses radiation (high-energy rays) to combat and shrink tumour cells. When being given treatment, a patient can expect to be treated with an invisible beam of electrons. Radiation treatment is very specific to a patient’s cancer and particular parts of the body. Precision in treatment delivery is critical. Emerging technology can help BC Cancer’s Vancouver team take radiation therapy to the next level.  

You can help advance cancer care in Vancouver

Vital upgrade to diagnostic imaging tool

Currently, the radiation therapy team has a CT simulator that requires a vital upgrade. A CT simulator is a diagnostic imaging tool used to determine the exact location, shape and size of the tumour to be treated.

It is crucial for all patients requiring radiation treatment as the images acquired during the test defines the most effective and precise course of treatment for each patient. The CT simulator ensures that a patient’s radiation treatment will target the exact area of concern, while missing surrounding critical areas.

BC Cancer Vancouver’s CT simulator is in need of an enhancement that will upgrade its current software system to a cutting-edge, 4D system – the Varian Respiratory Gating for Scanners.

The 4D technology characterizes a patient’s respiratory patterns and monitors the patient’s position during diagnostic CT imaging. A treatment planning software then uses the acquired images to assign appropriate motion management protocols to a treatment plan. It also offers an optional visual coaching device to help the patient maintain a consistent breathing pattern. This upgrade will replace the obsolete system currently in place.  

This life-enhancing upgrade in technology will help patients comfortably achieve a very still state when having their imaging tests done. Precision in CT imaging acquisition is absolutely crucial to ensure each patient receives the most precise and accurate radiation therapy possible. 

The cost for this upgrade is $95,000.

New milling machine

Like a 3D printer, this piece of equipment is used to create special treatment items like eye plaques for patients facing eye cancer. Each eye plaque is tailored specifically to patient’s physiology.

The cost for piece of equipment is $200,000.

New Brachytherapy bed

Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a sealed radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment for a period of time to damage the DNA of cancer cells and destroy their ability to grow.

The cost for this piece of equipment is $20,000.

To be a part of supporting these critical pieces of equipment, donate today.


Your help is needed to support crucial equipment care needs to help patients receive the most accurate and effective radiation treatment in Vancouver.

To learn more, please contact
Jan New, BC Cancer Foundation