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

Snow scenes around Castlegar

Our favourite reader submiltted photos.

Castlegar Curling Club hosts mixed bonspiel

The winning rinks were McKenzie (A event), Cooke (B), Nichol (C), and Knutson (D)

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Two-vehicle collision near Castlegar sends two to hospital

The incident took place Wednesday evening near the Brilliant Bridge in Ootischenia

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Donation will help support kids camps at the Kootenay Gallery

Castlegar’s Pinnacle PAC making art camps more accessible.

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read