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Taking on Cancer The Gordon & Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Written by Dan Tidsbury   

Joan laying in hospital bed giving a thumbs upWhen considering the fight against disease, there are three inseparable parts to the story. You cannot see modern facilities such as the Gordon & Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre at Vancouver General Hospital without being impressed by the planning, hard work, and resources, financial and otherwise, that have gone into the design, construction, equipment, services, and amenities in order to create a working facility such as this.

The second part, of course, is the team of gifted men and women who bring the facility to life – who do the research, provide the treatment, and deliver the care to the patients who depend on it. Without this group of dedicated professionals, a health care centre is just a building, no matter how new and shiny it may be.

The final part of the story is the patients themselves. It is easy to forget that every diagnosis – cancer, heart disease, kidney disease – is a human story that includes not just the patient, but the network of others who know them and share their journey: family, friends, co-workers, and the care team. Let’s consider one such story.

Joan was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in September 2013. By May 2014 (after multiple surgeries and chemo) she was referred to Dr. Charles Scudamore at VGH. We asked her to provide a few words:

“What I want to say about Dr. Scudamore… After I shook hands with him, he asked me why I was on disability. I told him ‘Cancer’. I had not been able to work for months and never thought I would see a day where I could go back to providing for my five children.

“He replied that that is why he was here. "It's curable," he said. He had lots of smiles, and to me, this operation gave me a better chance, especially when (after the surgery – a liver resection of two lobes) he said he had gotten all the cancer in the liver.

“Prior to that, only chemo was successful in reducing the tumor, but, the odds (before Dr. Scudamore) left me hanging. My oncologist wanted three more months of chemo. And I had to wait for three more months, and then, if no cancer cells were detected anywhere else in the body, he would apply to operate.

Joan“That was until we were referred to Dr. Scudamore….I would have had six more months of a growing tumor, had just had a colostomy, rectal removal, hysterectomy… it was so much of an “if”. I did not believe I had six months. I am truly grateful that I was referred to Dr. Scudamore! I believe that he played big part in saving my life.”

More time with family, better quality of life, the extension of life itself – this is the work of the Gordon & Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre. More than buildings, equipment, or procedures, the centre represents an ever-growing collection of real life stories.

Dan Tidsbury - Copy Editor

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