Campaign springs for cancer equipment

Jubilee lab outpaces VGH with more modernized lab gear

Dr. Brian Berry

Dr. Brian Berry

Oak Bay resident Carl Peterson applauds advances in medical technology.

Diagnosed nearly three decades ago with leukemia, new techniques and equipment along the way both saved his life, and added to its quality.

“In the early days for me they would look at 25 cells and if things were critical they would expand it all they way up to 50 cells … now they look at thousands (of cells),” he said. “I used to have bone marrow extractions every three months and even more frequently in the early days. I may have the world’s record for the most of these lovely procedures, which is the good news and the bad news – the good news is I’m still here. They had to do these aspirations in order to monitor the state of the disease and to keep my medications at the correct level and they were invasive and painful.

“Now I go for blood tests every three months and haven’t had a bone marrow extraction in three years.”

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation raised nearly $7 million last year for urgently needed medical equipment and special projects at Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals, which provide care to the roughly 765,000 Island residents.

“The needs of our hospitals are constant and ongoing and the equipment that we’re fundraising for this season is only a small part of the big picture,” said Cathy McIntyre, foundation board chair. “This equipment will increase (patients’) chance for survival at every stage of their diagnosis and treatment. As the quality and capability of medical equipment continues to evolve, so does the need to keep our hospitals on the leading edge of care. Being equipped with the best tools available helps our medical teams do their finest work.”

This spring’s $366,000 campaign targets an automated hematology system that processes blood tests more quickly and accurately; high-resolution monitors and an electrosurgical unit for the Endoscopy Department to provide clearer video images and a more precise diagnosis of cancer locations; and a digital ultrasound that helps physicians precisely locate tumors and other abnormalities during surgery.

Dr. Brian Berry,  Division Chief, Hematopathology, Laboratory Medicine for Island Health, outlined how a new automated slide review system for Victoria General – already in place at RJH – would dramatically improve diagnosis time and precision for cancer and other critical illnesses.

“The job of this equipment is to make sure any abnormalities, like cancer, anemia or auto-immune diseases stand out like a sore thumb,” Berry said. “Right now, the system we have is outdated and requires us to manually review cells from blood samples. The new system provides high-resolution digital images, meaning results are more exact and arrive up to 10 times faster. Often we can begin treatment immediately.”

The new equipment means a more immediate response in diagnosing patients and creating a targeted, personalized treatment plan for complex cancers such as lymphoma, leukemia and metastatic cancer; time-critical illnesses or injuries that cause bleeding; and illnesses that particularly affect seniors, such as anemia.

“Donations from community members make a huge difference in the level of care hospitals can provide,” McIntyre said. “Every single gift, no matter how small or how large, plays an important role in helping us reach our goal.”

For Peterson, the relative comfort of modern tests is augmented by the results of modern medicine. Doctors discovered three years ago the leukemia was  regressing. His last test showed zero cells.

“That’s the kind of information that Brian provides,” Peterson said.

Learn how to contribute at victoriahf.ca online or calling 250-519-1750.

 

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read