When Bob Charron was diagnosed with Stage 2B prostate cancer, his BC Cancer oncologist quickly identified him as a prime candidate for an innovative treatment called brachytherapy - therapy that soon got his retirement plans back on track.

Improving the standard of care through brachytherapy

BC Cancer Foundation donors have played a significant role in advancing brachytherapy research

When Bob Charron retired at 58 after a 35-year career in the RCMP, he had big plans for the next chapter in his life. He couldn’t wait to spend more time with his wife, kids and grandson.

Unfortunately, only a few short months after he retired, his plans were stopped in their tracks: Bob was diagnosed with Stage 2B prostate cancer.

His oncologist at BC Cancer – Kelowna quickly identified that he was a prime candidate for an innovative treatment called brachytherapy.

Through brachytherapy, Bob would have a tiny radioactive seed implanted in a single session and avoid up to five weeks of daily radiation treatments using beams.

The treatment worked very quickly and his tests showed a dramatic and nearly immediate response. Bob’s retirement plans soon got back on track – he and his wife even enjoyed a month-long trip to Belize.

“I’m living proof that innovations in cancer research and care can save lives,” Bob says. “I am so grateful for the incredible treatment I received at BC Cancer.”

Dr. Ross Halperin, executive medical director, BC Cancer – Kelowna, says there are many benefits to brachytherapy as opposed to other types of radiation treatment.

“What’s special about brachytherapy is that the radioactive sources are placed directly where the tumour is so the radiation doesn’t have to travel through the body to get to the tumour target,” says Dr. Halperin. “That allows us to deliver a lot more radiation treatment safely to the tumour while protecting the body from the harms of radiation treatment in the normal tissues.”

Another advantage is the rapidity of treatment, he explains: “Many of our standard radiation treatments from the outside in take six to eight weeks of daily treatment Monday through Friday to complete, whereas brachytherapy is typically completed for a number of cancers in one to four-day surgeries. More than 70 per cent of the patients our oncologists treat are from communities like Cranbrook, Invermere, Nelson, Vernon and Kamloops, and they benefit from faster treatments and less time away from their homes and families.”

Brachytherapy has evolved greatly since its beginning – Dr. Halperin says it has a long track record of success in prostate cancer and more recently in women’s womb cancers, such as cervical cancer. It’s also currently being developed for the treatment of breast cancers.

According to Dr. Halperin, BC Cancer Foundation donors have played a significant role in advancing the latest research into brachytherapy.

“In Kelowna in particular, the community raised the money to buy the inaugural equipment that allowed us to start the prostate brachytherapy program,” he says. “And the development of brachytherapy in breast cancer also owes its progress to community and donor support – had we not had the community support, it might have been another decade before it arrived.”

To continue to propel leading-edge innovation in brachytherapy at BC Cancer – Kelowna and ensure patients in the Interior continue to have access to world-class care, the Foundation has embarked on a $3.5 million fundraising initiative to establish a Chair in Brachytherapy at the centre.

To learn how you can support pioneering research into targeted, precise cancer treatment, visit www.bccancerfoundation.com/why-give/BC-cancer-centre/Kelowna

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Save-On-Foods has a people first philosophy

For Andrew Sanders, it’s all about customer service. It’s what he thinks… Continue reading

Village of Field struggles with snow removal continues

With the heavy snowfall this winter, winter driving conditions have been a… Continue reading

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Highway 1 closed near Golden

DriveBC estimates the road to reopen at 1 p.m.

Kicking Horse Update Wednesday, January 22

Kicking Horse reports 1 cm of snow in the last 24 hours.… Continue reading

Victoria police arrest 12 anti-pipeline protesters supporting Wet’suwet’en

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

Most Read