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Precision Radiation Therapy expands in northern B.C. thanks to $100,000 donation

BC Cancer Foundation is aiming to raise $1.75 million towards precision radiotherapy care
Stacy Miller, Selen Alpay, Lois Smith, Robert Olson
Stacy Miller, Selen Alpay, Lois Smith, and Dr. Robert Olson in front of BC Cancer Centre for the North in Prince George.

BC Cancer Foundation has received a $100,000 donation from Prince George resident and owner of the local Canadian Tire, Selen Alpay, to help expand the Precision Radiation Therapy program (PRT).  

The BC Cancer Foundation is trying to raise $1 million toward the foundation’s $1.75 million goal to enhance Prince George’s reputation as a leader in radiation therapy.

There has been mounting evidence over the last decade that precision RT holds significant potential to minimize side effects and improve patient outcomes, while decreasing treatment times.

BC Cancer – Prince George centre is renowned for its highly skilled team of radiation oncologists who deliver world class treatment to patients and conduct innovative research under the leadership of radiation oncologist Dr. Robert Olson.

Several forms of precision RT are currently available in Prince George, but additional technology investments will allow more techniques to be used and additional patients to be treated.

This added technology and research infrastructure at BC Cancer – Prince George will be made possible in partnership with BC Cancer, and with donor support, expanding current capability at the Centre at a faster rate.

“As a local resident, I have seen firsthand the incredible impact that having BC Cancer care close to home has had on our community,” said Alpay.

“I hope that my donation inspires others to give to the campaign, and together, we can play a role in expanding this cutting-edge technology in Prince George.”

“Donations are so important to ensure precision radiation is available to everyone who needs it across the province,” said Sarah Roth, President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation.

“We are immensely grateful to Selen for partnering with BC Cancer Foundation to bring hope and save more lives for families in the North.”

Scientists and clinicians at BC Cancer – Prince George are making progress to break down cancer, piece by piece, in the labs and clinics. Right now, their top priority is to offer precision RT to more people in the North.

“There’s a strong sense of momentum at BC Cancer – Prince George,” said Dr. Stacy Miller, Regional Medical Director and Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer. “With the achievement of a precision RT program here, I know we will be able to deliver the best care for our community.”

Funds raised will also support clinical trials, which are integral to improving treatments. The acquisition of cutting-edge equipment and the creation of a robust research program will test the ability of precision RT to improve treatment outcomes and extend survival rates in patients with metastatic cancer.

A series of clinical trials over the next several months will bring hope to patients who have limited treatment options and reduce future operating costs, providing significant benefits to the overall health-care system in B.C.

“Research plays an essential role in expanding and validating our knowledge of cancer treatment, which leads to direct improvements in clinical care,” said Dr. Olson, who is not only the radiation oncologist at BC Cancer – Prince George but also the division head of radiation oncology at UBC.

“Emerging evidence suggests that precision RT has significant potential to save the lives of people affected by cancer.”

Olson said that large, high-profile clinical trials can be led from small centres like Prince George.

“All patients deserve access to clinical trials, from large urban centres to small Indigenous communities. With donor support, we can continue to lead paradigm-changing international clinical trials from Northern BC,” said Dr. Olson.

BC Cancer - Prince George is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. It is one of six regional centres across the province, the Centre for the North provides care and support to patients with cancer across Northern B.C.

Every dollar raised in the North is invested back into BC Cancer – Prince George to support research, innovation and care.