For patients, cancer is often a frightening and uncertain journey. Alberta Health Services recently began a newservice in Fort McMurray to guide patients throughtheir cancer journeys.
A cancer patient navigator helps them with theirpsychological, physical and emotional needs andchallenges.
“We help link a patient with resources and serviceswithin the community before, during and after treat-Nearly 3,000 patients a month will use the new Southern Alberta Institute of Urology at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary. Home tothe city’s 14 urologists and the Prostate Cancer Centre,the institute was funded by a $10-million cornerstonedonation from two prominent Alberta philanthropists,W. Brett Wilson and the late Daryl (Doc) Seaman.
ment,” says Erin Langner, a cancer patient navigatorand community cancer nurse at the Northern LightsRegional Health Centre.
Langner says her job begins with “listening to apatient’s needs and helping find answers to their questions.” She also improves the co-ordination of tests,treatment and care by talking to, and working with,other health care professionals on her patients’ behalf.
“As soon as I talked with Erin, I felt how approachable, friendly and helpful she was,” says Glenda Pollard,a Fort McMurray cancer patient. “She gave me a lot ofinformation, prepared me for my visit with the oncologist and connected me with resources in town I didn’tknow about.”
When she met with her oncologist, Pollard says she
knew what treatments she’d be having. “All of the
questions I would have been wondering about were no
surprise when I went there.”
Funding for cancer patient navigation in Fort McMur-
ray is made possible through Syncrude Canada Ltd.
The cancer navigation program is also offered inDrumheller, Lloydminster and Grande Prairie, and isexpanding to Edmonton and Calgary.
Wilson, best known for his appearances on CBC’sDragon’s Den, and Seaman, an oilman and co-ownerof the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team, were bothprostate cancer patients. Each gave $5 million to theCalgary Health Trust to establish the institute, whichopened in September.
“Although Doc Seaman and I came from differentgenerations, we shared the same vision for this facility — a centre of excellence with co-ordinated carefor ‘below the belt’ issues — care that wasn’t availablewhen we both battled prostate cancer,” said Wilson atthe institute’s opening.
The first centre of its kind in Canada, the instituteserves both men and women with a number of conditions, including prostate, bladder and kidney cancer,kidney stones, urinary tract problems and sexualdysfunction. It will also be a clinical hub for patientcare and become a focal point for researchers.