Most Canadians, at some point or another, have been impacted by cancer.
The disease is currently the leading cause of death in the country, killing more people each year than heart disease, suicide and diabetes combined, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. And they say it’s only going to get worse. So whether it was you who was diagnosed with it or someone close to you, we all know by now that the world would be far, far better off without cancer.
That’s why it should come as a small comfort that Canada recently stepped up its arsenal in the fight against the disease.
The Cedars Cancer Centre in Montreal just welcomed the Cyberknife M6, a $4 million piece of equipment that’s the only one of its kind in the country.
It doesn’t actually cut anything; instead, it delivers very focused shots of radiation at high doses while tracking the tumour’s movement inside the body for maximum precision (tumours move around when the patient breathes, for example). It’s primarily used to treat inoperable cancers in the brain, spine and lungs — all without incisions or scars and with far fewer side effects than before.
Renee Grandbois, 38, was one of its first subjects. She’s been fighting an aggressive form of breast cancer, and has undergone 16 rounds of chemo, a complete mastectomy as well as 24 rounds of radiation treatment to fight it. But after all that, the cancer metastasized in her brain, leading doctors to bring in the Cyberknife.
You can check out more of her story in the video, above.