Information for Patients – Cancer Care Team and Treatment

Cancer Care Team

Your Cancer Care team may consist of numerous people including oncologists, hematologists, general practitioners in oncology, nurses, pharmacists, radiation therapists, medical physicists, surgeons, social workers, and dietitians. These specialists are trained in cancer diagnosis, treatment, clinical trials, pain and symptom management, and palliative care. They deliver care as part of our outpatient and inpatient programs at the Health Sciences Centre.

Do not hesitate to ask questions of anyone on your care team. We are here to support you and will direct you to the most appropriate care team member to address your concerns.

Treatment

Surgery

If your treatment plan includes surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to go over any health issues or concerns. The inpatient surgical service provides complete care delivered by a skilled team of healthcare professionals and support staff.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Treatments are usually given daily, except for weekends and statutory holidays. Treatments may take 15 to 45 minutes over several weeks. For more detailed information about radiation therapy, ask your healthcare team or visit MyCancerGuide (access code: northwest).

The Radiation Therapy Department is located on Level 2 of the Cancer Centre. Please check in at the Radiation Therapy reception area when you arrive and please bring your appointment sheet and Health Card to each visit.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a drug therapy designed to interfere with the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy treatments are tailored to you. The length, cycle, and course of your chemotherapy treatment depend on the drugs used for your care. For more detailed information, ask your healthcare team or visit MyCancerGuide (access code: northwest).

The Chemotherapy Unit is located on the Level 3 of the Cancer Centre. Please check in at reception when you arrive and please bring your appointment sheet and Health Card to each visit.

You are welcome and encouraged to bring a family member and/or friend with you.

Drug Reimbursement Specialist

Regional Cancer Care Northwest has a Drug Reimbursement Specialist who can assist you if paying for your medication is a concern. The Drug Reimbursement Specialist will help you access the most appropriate coverage, whether through government programs, your insurance company, or through a compassionate program.

1A Inpatient Unit

Unit 1A is a medical unit located in the Health Sciences Centre that contains dedicated oncology beds for patients with cancer and cancer-related concerns. Staff members on this unit have special training concentrating on the needs of oncology patients.

Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS)

The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS) is a screening tool used to assess nine common symptoms experienced by cancer patients. When registering for your medical appointment, you will be asked to record your symptoms electronically, using the computer kiosks located in the reception areas at the Cancer Centre. If needed, volunteers are available to assist you with the completion of your ESAS. By informing your cancer care team about your health and well-being, they can help you find ways to feel better during your treatments.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine uses special televisions and equipment to remotely connect patients with physicians, other healthcare teams, or family members elsewhere in Ontario. Rather than travelling to Thunder Bay, patients from across the Northwest region can visit their local hospital or clinic to use Telemedicine for counselling appointments.

Clinical Trials

Our Centre Oncologist’s actively conduct and participate in Clinical Trials. A Clinical Trial is a type of research study that helps to find new methods for diagnosing, treating, managing and preventing cancer. Your medical record may be reviewed by your Oncologist and a Clinical Research Nurse to check if you are eligible to be offered participation in one of our current trials. Choosing to participate in a Clinical Trial is completely voluntary.

Tips for Your Appointment

Here is some helpful and important information for patients to remember for each and every appointment for their cancer care:

  • Always bring your appointment sheet (if you have one), and your Health Card
  • Arrive 15 minutes early in order to have time to:
    • Complete the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS)
    • Find a parking spot
  • Always bring your medications or a current up-to-date list:
    • Include all over-the-counter medications, including vitamins and herbal remedies.
    • Include all topical creams and inhalers.
  • Review the MyCancerGuide (access code: northwest) and have questions ready for your appointment.
  • Bring a pen and some paper to take notes if you need to
  • You are encouraged to bring a family member or friend to each appointment if you feel you would like to for support or to help you discuss your care with the Cancer Care team

Cancer Centre Information

On evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, please call the Nurses’ Registry at (807) 623-7451 and ask for the Cancer Centre on-call physician. If the problem is a medical emergency or if you don’t know what to do, please go to your local Emergency Department and tell them that you are a patient at the Cancer Centre.