It’s been ten years since the BC Cancer Centre for the North opened in Prince George, bringing better cancer care close to home in Northern BC.
Dr Rob Olson is an Oncologist and the research lead at the Centre and was the first physician hired to the centre.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” Olson said.
“We’ve certainly grown quite a bit, we’ve seen more patients now than we did before, not quite double but almost that.”
Olson added that cancer treatment has changed in the ten years the centre has been open.
“We’re giving radiation for cancer that has spread to a few sites more commonly now, when we used to think only you would give palliative chemotherapy,” he explained.
“Another one is a whole type of treatment, immunotherapy, actually was developed during the ten years, a relatively rapid progression, and there’s now quite a few cancers that are being treated with immunotherapy.”
Olson said the most prominent cancer treatment innovation that has come from Northern BC is a new treatment called SABR.
“[It’s] essentially giving really high doses to tumors by carving around normal tissue,” he explained.
“It’s giving really high doses to a few sites, with increased chance of cure, and that’s been a big thing that not only have we done technical innovations, but we’ve also led the clinical trials and have led to practice change internationally.”
Olson said the centre is treating approximately 1,100 people per year in Northern BC.