Blog December 17, 2019

Posted by Harrison Crerar


Improving complex health-care systems comes as a result of community collaboration. By fostering this type of culture, innovation is born. We cannot move health-care into the future without diverse minds asking difficult questions.

The Okanagan has been making waves in both the health-care and technology sectors. These two communities are full of talent ready to (or already creating) meaningful change, but they didn’t have the forum to collaborate. Enter Future of Health, an event aimed at fostering the exchange of research and innovative ideas between the health-care and technology communities.

Accelerate Okanagan, BC Cancer, Interior Health, and The University of British Columbia joined forces to host an annual forum. On October 18th, health researchers, clinicians, innovators, entrepreneurs, and members of the public met to explore the current state of cancer care in BC and discuss the ground-breaking research shaping the future of health in our province.

Here is just a taste of what we learned…


After the presentations, there were questions regarding the accessibility of brachytherapy and whether it is a suitable replacement for all cancer treatments.

To increase availability, Dr. Bachand and Dr. Batchelar outlined that it isn’t a matter of increasing access to treatment resources—it’s increasing the number of doctors trained in brachytherapy. Only a few doctors have the expertise required for this type of treatment. Dr. Crook elaborated that those trained doctors only have a certain amount of scheduled operating room time to perform those treatments. This can make the accessibility of brachytherapy fairly limited.


Dr. Crook went on to explain that, though the treatment offers a less invasive solution, brachytherapy is dependant on the site and presentation of the tumour. “Some tumour sites like gynecologic, breast, or prostate lend themselves well to brachytherapy while others do not.” Additionally, if peripheral sites need treatment (ex. lymph nodes in breast cancer), using an external beam to apply radiation would provide a more complete treatment.

Brachytherapy has been harder to introduce into the United States, Dr. Crook has noticed. This has been attributed to the reduced financial burden it places on patients. Because the treatment can be completed within a half-day, hospitals aren’t able to charge patients as much for brachytherapy. Crook noted that hospitals are starting to change their perspective, though.


Cancer may be one of the most taxing problems faced by humankind but we are getting ever closer to discovering the means by which to prevent and treat it. Health-care advances come as a result of collaboration and innovative ideas and, through events like Future of Health, we can continue to create opportunities to drive those advances.

Join the conversation.

Hungry for more?

A Look Inside the Future of Health Vol. 1 >>>
Future of Health Explained >>>
Keynote Announced >>>
Speaker Spotlight 1 >>>
Speaker Spotlight 2 >>>
Speaker Spotlight 3 >>>

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