Volume 93, Issue 93

Fridday, March 24, 2000


Compaq Centre targets brain-drain

No more lazy days of summer

Cancer centre hires 11 new radiation therapists

Eastern university caps tuition

Chatting with a hockey legend

Smokers get a breather

Crib notes for the desperate


Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

Cancer centre hires 11 new radiation therapists

By Lindsay Satterthwaite
Gazette Staff

Waiting lists for radiation treatment may become shorter for anxious cancer patients in London.

Judy Havers, communications officer for the London Regional Cancer Centre, said 11 radiation therapists from around the world have been hired for employment at the centre.

The recent shortage of staff and the increase of 3,100 new patients requiring radiation therapy annually, means the new staff will be extremely beneficial, she said.

"The recommended maximum waiting period for a patient from referral to start of treatment is four weeks. The average waiting list now is eight weeks," Havers said.

The waiting list is based on a first come first serve basis, but is also subject to patient need, Havers said. "The most detrimental effect to these patients on the waiting list is the psycho–social aspect – knowing that you have cancer and nothing is being done about it."

Greg Cairncross, executive director of the London Regional Cancer Centre, said they have been concentrating on the delay for radiation treatment. "The greatest obstacle is the number of staff in the radiation treatment program," he said.

The London Centre, from a technological standpoint, had the best equipment in Canada, he said. "We are going to have an outstanding radiation program with an exciting team."

The opening of the Grand River Cancer Centre in Kitchener, a new centre scheduled to open in the spring of 2002, would also relieve pressure from the Toronto, Hamilton and London centres, Cairncross said. "We are trying to work with the leadership team of the Kitchener centre to begin developing a solid team," he added.

The increased staff would help alleviate the stress off the current staff who work 10 hour shifts five days a week, said Keri Schoonverwoerd, communications specialist at Princess Margaret Hospital.

According to Canadian Cancer Statistics 1999, published by the Canadian Cancer Society and confirmed by spokesperson Monica Dickson, an estimated 129,300 people were diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 63,400 people died from cancer in Canada last year. The percentage of people with cancer is expected to increase, until at least 2010, because of the aging population.

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