Dr. Kazuhiro Yasufuku of UHN recently received the 2018 Sakura Award from the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre for exceptional contributions made by an individual to the promotion and exchange of Japanese culture and enhancing awareness of Nikkei heritage within Canada and abroad. Watch the inspiring story of how "Kazu" left his homeland of Japan to come to work at UHN. (Video: UHN)


 

One patient calls him a "Guardian Angel." Colleagues refer to him as a "superstar" and "game changer."

Despite the accolades Dr. Kazuhiro Yasufuku, a thoracic surgeon at Toronto General Hospital and Director of the Interventional Thoracic Surgery Program at UHN, remains humble and focused on his purpose to serve patients.

One of the keys to turning around the dismal survival rate of lung cancer is early detection and removal. Dr. Yasufuku, who has a special interest in minimally invasive diagnostics and therapeutics, is doing just that.​

On the early diagnosis front, he invented the CP-EBUS, a flexible ultrasound scope that allows doctors to search the lungs for cancer without cutting open the patient. The CP-EBUS has become the worldwide gold standard for "staging" lung cancer.

And, in the Operating Room, Dr. Yasufuku, regarded as one of Japan's best thoracic surgeons, is using cutting edge imaging to pinpoint cancer nodules, and remove them with minimally invasive surgery.

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre earlier this month honoured Dr. Yasufuku with their 2018 Sakura Award. The annual award is for exceptional contributions made by an ​individual to the promotion and exchange of Japanese culture and enhancing awareness of Nikkei heritage within Canada and abroad. 

The gala evening, co-sponsored by the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation, was held at the Royal Ontario Museum and celebrated Dr. Yasufuku's profound impact on the lives of patients in Ontario and around the world.

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