Grandma's Story


Doris Rowland

written by Cory Rowland


 Until a big medical issue comes into your life, you see the struggles of others and the frustration with our medical system but you don't really understand it. Well...now we understand! My mother in law was just diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer, her tumor is inoperable as it has extended around veins and arteries that are in close proximity to her pancreas. The treatment option presented to her was chemotherapy....period.... The hope is to shrink the tumor so that it can be surgically removed. The life expectancy for this type of pancreatic cancer is 6-12 months....however, thanks to Marla Bosse being on the lookout for treatment options we have found a procedure called a NanoKnife.

This technology has been FDA approved since 2009. The NanoKnife or IRE (Irreversible Electroporation) is approved to treat primary and metastatic liver cancer, soft tissue tumors in the lung, prostate, head and neck, kidney and pancreas. It is an effective option for tumors near blood vessels or other delicate structures that would otherwise be inoperable or not treatable. The surgery is performed under a general anesthetic or spinal, it is minimally invasive and in many cases does not require a surgical incision. 15 cm probes that are 1 mm in diameter are inserted through the skin under CT or Ultrasound around the tumor. The NanoKnife system sends electrical pulses or currents of 1500-3000 Volts between each set of probes to puncture permanent nanometer sized holes into the tumor. This process causes the cancer cell to die. After the tumor is destroyed, the body naturally rids itself of the dead cells, which are replaced with healthy cells. Benefits include no open incisions, less damage to healthy tissue, minimal postoperative pain, fewer side effects, short hospital stay-generally over night, the ability to repeat the procedure if more tumors develop and a longer life expectancy. Soooo....what is the catch? This procedure is not performed in Canada as a recognized treatment for soft tissue tumors..




 The procedure is done in multiple hospitals in the US with a price tag of 300K Canadian. Dr Matthias Birth is an Oncologic Surgeon in Stralsund, Germany, he performs this procedure charging 32K Canadian. We have also found a hospital in Israel- Herzliya Medical Center in Tel Aviv. The NanoKnife machine is 300K US and each probe is $2000. The most difficult thing to understand is why isn't this procedure available in Canada? OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) claims the procedure is experimental, we have yet to hear back from AHS (Alberta Health Services). As of April 30, 2015 Judy had been cancer free for 44 months after having the NanoKnife procedure,  LEARN MORE HERE. Please pass this information on to anyone in your life that has a cancer that may benefit from this treatment, also call your MLA and demand to know why this technology is not available. When the government sticks their nose into all areas of our lives, tax us steeply and have a monopoly on healthcare, we should have access to the best health care and technology available. Unfortunately our system in Canada is broken.

We are going to accompany my mother in law overseas to have the procedure. If you have any questions about the NanoKnife and bringing it to Alberta (Canada) please contact me at coryrowland@shaw.ca. As a family we have experienced a terribly mismanged health care system, navigating the Central Alberta Cancer Centre was a nightmare. Once we return from overseas we will be taking our concerns to our MLA. We will also be pushing for better pain control of pancreatic cancer patients following diagnosis, from our experience it has been an overuse of narcotics. We feel there should be limited use of narcotics (or preferably none), Lyrica (or similar agent) and celiac plexus block and a way to get this intervention in a timely manner not months later. We are praying for Hector Macmillan and wishing him a speedy recovery after his NanoKnife procedure that he had at 8 am local time in Stralsund, Germany on Thursday, October 6, 2016 and looking forward to him coming back to Canada to fight for a better health care system.



If you have a media inquiry or any questions, please email

coryrowland@shaw.ca OR cr@thebackwaterco.com

When my dad and uncles fought as kids, my grandma would make them sit on the front porch step with their arms around each other to show the world how much they loved each other.... Here's a little reenactment.

#RibJab #Albertaboys - Caitlyn Rowland

Bart / Kevin / Dwayne