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

BC Cancer FoundationCancerHealth

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Langford theft investigation leads to national crime ring

More than $250,000 in stolen goods recovered, $67,000 in cash seized

Oak Bay council places 60-day protection order on Island Road house

Developer pulled heritage agreement over ‘exorbitant’ $417,000 fees

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

9.5-foot-wide yellow cedar measured by Ancient Forest Alliance campaigners in Fairy Creek watershed

BIPOC artists come together to paint mural highlighting racial injustice in Bastion Square

‘More Justice, More Peace’ to go beyond cycle of hurt and sadness

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read