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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Muddy Valley Farm in rural Saanich is calling for witnesses after its large metal gate was stolen overnight on Monday, Jan. 18. (Muddy Valley Farm/Facebook)
Rural Saanich farm reports large metal gate stolen

Muddy Valley Farm gate stolen overnight by ‘at least two people’

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read