For Lethbridge resident Gloria Bell, the toughest part of having lung cancer was being treated in Calgary, away from her home and family.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been sick, but to be
sick in your own home is way better than being sick
someplace else,” Bell says. “It’s your own bed, your
own comfy things around you.”
Those sentiments are among the reasons why
Alberta Health Services is creating the Alberta Radia-
tion Therapy Corridor. When completed, the corridor
will run through five cities (Grande Prairie, Edmonton,
Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge) and put 92 percent
of Alberta patients needing radiation within 100 kilo-
metres of treatment.
Bell had barely finished her radiation treatmentswhen the Lethbridge Cancer Centre opened inJune. The opening marked the first time radiationtherapy was available in Alberta outside of Calgaryand Edmonton.
Delivering cancer care closer to home
“To be sick in
your own home
is way better
than being sick
– Gloria Bell,
A combination of new and renovated space, thecentre also provides chemotherapy treatment. Eventually, about 80 percent of patients in the Lethbridge areaneeding radiation treatment for lung, breast, prostate,colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers will be treated atthe $52.3-million centre.
Ground will be broken at the Red Deer CancerCentre this fall, with completion in 2013; work on theGrande Prairie Cancer Centre will follow.
“One of our primary goals is to improve access to
services for Albertans,” says Dr. Tony Fields, AHS’s
vice-president of Cancer Care. “These new facilities are
bringing radiation treatment closer to home for more
and more Albertans.”
Bell’s experience reflects patients’ desire to be treated
closer to home.
“I have a son with Down syndrome who I spenda lot of time with,” Bell says. “I also like to bake andcook; it is very relaxing for me. When I was in Calgary,it was really hard, because I didn’t have a way to release those anxieties that you obviously feel when youare going through something like this.”
reported by PAMELA DUNN, AHSWith the opening of the Lethbridge Cancer Centre, radiationtherapy for many types of cancer is now available for patients inSouthern Alberta.