SAH to Install New Cancer Radiation Treatment Unit
November 28, 2023 – SAH is pleased to share that we will be updating our radiation therapy treatment equipment with a new, state-of-the-art unit.
Cancer Care Ontario mandates that radiation treatment units be replaced every 12 years and our unit is now due for replacement. This will result in the interruption of radiation treatment services for approximately 5 months beginning February 11, 2024.
Patients requiring radiation treatment or radiation/chemotherapy treatment beginning February 11, 2024 will be referred to the Shirley and Jim Fielding Northeast Cancer Centre (NECC) in Sudbury. Patients who are already receiving treatment on February 11 will also be referred to the NECC in Sudbury. Consultations, pre-treatment planning and follow up appointments will continue at SAH.
To support patients and families that will be affected during the equipment downtime, the team in the Algoma District Cancer Program (ADCP) will be available to answer questions and provide guidance. SAH has also created a patient package that provides information about transportation, accommodation, parking and how to access the Northern Ontario Travel grant to help offset travel costs.
The linear accelerator vendor is Varian Medical Systems. The cost of the unit is $2.25 million which is funded by Cancer Care Ontario. SAH is grateful for generous community donations to the Sault Area Hospital Foundation, which will support additional costs related to the project.
The ADCP has been providing radiation therapy services with a single treatment unit since its inception in 2011. From 2011 to 2022, SAH has provided treatment to 4,458 cases, an average of 371 cases per year. Approximately 90% of patients requiring radiation treatment have received it locally since 2011 with the exception of some patients requiring specialized treatment.
With this new state-of-the-art equipment, SAH will be able to provide Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy to the spine and prostate locally. This type of radiation delivers extremely precise, very high doses of radiation to cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. A small number of patients who require this treatment will no longer have to travel to the NECC in Sudbury in the future.
SAH and the Northeast Cancer Centre are committed to ensuring that there are no gaps in treatment and that patients experience a smooth transition of their care. We recognize that this interruption in local radiation therapy services is both stressful and inconvenient for patients and their families.
Our new state-of-the-art treatment unit ensures that that this vital treatment will continue to be available close to home in the near future. Installation of the new unit is expected to be completed by July 2024.