Just days to go: Beating cancer at brand new centre
Trudy Beyak - Abbotsford News
Published: August 20, 2008 6:00 PM
heard of physicists who study quantum theory and the laws of
thermodynamics – but how about studying the machines that beat cancer?
Shahine, a bright medical physicist, is not only keen about the
intricate mechanics of linear accelerators that aim finely tuned rays of
radiation into tumours, but finds it rewarding to help the people this
technology will save.
contrary to popular thought – is not a death sentence.
B.C. cancer patients have the best chance of survival in all of Canada,
said Randy Hawes, MLA for Maple-Ridge-Mission at the BC Cancer Agency’s
Abbotsford Centre this week.
is one of the new medical specialists working in Abbotsford drawn to the
excitement of working at the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer
Centre, which officially opens this Sunday.
cancer centre – located on the lower level of the new hospital on
Marshall Road – is bright and cheery with orange and light yellow
decorative touches and a relaxing outdoor balcony with shrubbery.
compassion characterize the department.
may have radiation treatment every day for about four to six weeks,
explained Tammie Currie, chief radiation therapist.
effect of the radiation treatment used to shrink tumors actually lasts
for twice that length of time.
medical physicists will each maintain the four linear accelerators at
the Abbotsford Centre to make sure they are operating according to
has been on-site in Abbotsford testing the linear accelerators for the
past several months.
journey to Abbotsford has been an interesting one, he said with a warm
is a Canadian, born in Lebanon.
inspired about 12 years ago to become a radiation therapy physicist when
he was studying medicine at the University of B.C. and working on his
PhD at the BC Cancer Agency. Then he went to Stanford University to take
clinical radiation therapy training for two years. From there, he worked
in Saudi Arabia cancer facilities for five years establishing protocols
and commissioning equipment.
knowledge base is extensive.
circling the globe, he returned to this province drawn to his dream job
at the new cancer centre in Abbotsford to help commission the new Varian
iX linear accelerators.
said he’s thrilled to be back in B.C. and settle down in Abbotsford
where he has bought a house on Sumas Mountain.
light up about his new home.
a beautiful view of Mount Baker and we like the quality of the schools
here,” he said. “This is a great place to raise a family.”
cancer centre includes four linear accelerators (at about $2.5 million
each) which are top of the line in the industry. In total, all of the
equipment in the centre is worth about $14 million.
has been taking tests to calculate the radiation doses and enter the
data into the software that operates the machines. The strength of the
radiation doses are measured by directing radiation beams into a
specially designed water tank which models what happens in a human body.
it very rewarding to help people get better,” Shahine said.
said the medical equipment at the new cancer centre is among the best in
Canada and it will be a great benefit to patients in the Fraser Valley
who won’t be forced to travel to Surrey or Vancouver any longer for
Abbotsford Centre will serve about 2,500 patients annually and opens
next Monday to treat the first patient.
Ramaseshan, medical physics leader for the BC Cancer Agency’s Fraser
Valley and Abbotsford Centres, is happy that the new centre is ready to
open its doors to the community.
linear accelerators are some of the most sophisticated in the world, he
said, noting that the international team involved on the commissioning
team are from England, Saudi Arabia and Canada.
Cancer Agency is a part of the Provincial Health Services Authority and
the Abbotsford Centre is the fifth to open in the province.