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In Surrey, ‘patients arriving in morning with cancerous tumours are leaving tumour-free hours later’

New interventional radiology suite opens at Surrey Memorial Hospital
New cancer-fighting equipment at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (submitted photo)

A new interventional radiology suite has opened at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

As a result, health officials say “revolutionary cancer treatments and other innovative therapies” are now available in the city.

The facility, along with the cancer treatment centre planned for the new Surrey Hospital, means “people will get the compassionate care they need,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release.

The B.C. government, Fraser Health and the Surrey Hospitals Foundation collaborated on the $4.1 million project.

Dr. Behrang Homayoon, lead for the hospital’s interventional radiology program, said Surrey Memorial Hospital now has “state-of-the-art equipment to perform minimally-invasive procedures with greater precision and less exposure to radiation for our patients and staff.

“Patients arriving in the morning with cancerous tumours are leaving tumour-free a few hours later, thanks to new technology and our skilled staff and medical staff, including interventional radiologists, technologists and nurses. This is also made possible by our partners the BC Cancer Agency and donors to the Surrey Hospitals Foundation.”

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An anonymous donor contributed $2 million for a Philips Azurion image-guided therapy platform – the “technical brains” of the suite, according to Fraser Health. Additional donors helped kick-start the oncology program with microwave ablation and cryoablation machines. “Microwave ablation uses high heat to destroy tumours while cryoablation freezes tumours with an ‘ice ball’ inserted through a tiny needle,” explains the health authority’s news release.

Fraser Health says people of all ages, particularly seniors at risk of complications from conventional surgery, are benefitting from interventional radiology. More than 19,000 interventional radiology procedures were done in the region last year, and demand appears to be growing, the health authority says.

“Interventional radiology is a rapidly-evolving area of medicine that uses imaging technology including X-Ray, CT scans and ultrasound guidance to steer needles, wires and catheters into small incisions in the skin and through blood vessels to treat an array of conditions including vascular, urologic, gynecologic and musculoskeletal. Minimally invasive procedures are used in emergency settings, as well, to treat life-threatening embolisms and internal bleeding. The benefits include less discomfort and pain, shorter recovery times and reduced radiation exposure for both patients and staff.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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