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.

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

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A power outage Thursday night left nearly 3,000 homes in Clinton and the 70 Mile areas in the dark. (Katie McCullough photo).
Updated: Clinton, 70 Mile left in the dark after vehicle crashes into transmission pole

BC Hydro still working to restore power to 330 homes in 70 Mile House

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Community consultation is now open regarding disposal of the former Ashcroft Elementary property, which since 2015 has operated as the Ashcroft HUB. (Photo credit: Vicci Weller)
Feedback now sought regarding disposal of Ashcroft Elementary

Residents of the region can have their say about the future of the former AES property

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read