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Patients + Research: Keith Binette

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new cures, cares and treatments.

Patients + Research is a platform for patients to discuss their relationship and experience with the research that leads to new care, cures and treatments. Ontario’s 24 research hospitals are committed to driving best practices for patient co-design of health research. When patients are at the table, the Ontario’s health research enterprise does a better job at making Ontario healthier, wealthier and smarter.

Meet Keith

Keith Binette is 55 years old and lives just north of Toronto. In 2010, Keith was diagnosed with rectal cancer—for the second time. He began participating in research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to help develop new treatments for shrinking tumours. Thank you, Keith, for taking time to share about your health experience with us.

Patients + Research - Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Keith and his fiancée, May, on a visit to Hong Kong.


Why does health research matter to you?

Getting involved in research has been important to me and I am honored to be involved. It’s been a good opportunity to help pay back and to contribute to the future. And it helps other patients. We hope that someday cancer will be even more like a chronic disease that you live with, and that we treat as best we can.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your health story?

I was diagnosed 5 years ago with rectal cancer that had come back. And it had come back in a way that was too close to nerves and delicate organs, so surgery was out of the question. I had heard about a treatment called hyperthermia. Some other readers or patients may have heard of this technology before, too. They do it in Germany and Japan using a type of waterbed and generalized heat to warm tumours. It helps increase response to the chemotherapy and radiation therapy applied shortly after.

At Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, I’ve been participating in research that’s developing a newer way of doing hyperthermia using MRI guided focused ultrasound. It gives heat at a low, consistent temperature and that is monitored all the time while I lie on a special table that slides in and out of the MRI machine. The heat just feels warmish and comes in waves, and I have control to tell them to stop if it starts to feel too hot. The idea is that after the hyperthermia, the tumour is still warmed, making chemo and radiation more effective in shrinking the tumour.

It’s a bit of a risk-reward thing to participate in research that hopefully will bring about a ‘new normal’.


Stay tuned on our blog for more Patients + Research posts and share your own insights on Twitter with the hashtag #onHWS. To learn more about why health research matters for Ontario and how you can support it, download the Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter Policy Platform and check out our other blog posts and videos.

If you would like to participate in the Patients + Research blog series, please email or call Elise Bradt at, 416-205-1469, or tweet at @CAHOhospitals.