CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

June 30, 2011

Western Manitoba Cancer Centre Opens

$24-million Centre Brings Cancer Care Closer to Home for Westman Residents: Selinger

BRANDON - The new, $24-million Western Manitoba Cancer Centre will bring optimal cancer treatment closer to home for Manitobans living in the western part of the province, which was officially opened here today by Premier Greg Selinger.

"Our investment in the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre offers more treatment options to Westman residents," said Selinger. "The centre's radiation therapy program alone will serve as many as 400 Brandon and area residents every year who otherwise would have had to travel to Winnipeg."

The Western Manitoba Cancer Centre will provide residents of Brandon and surrounding areas with a regional cancer centre offering chemotherapy, support services and outpatient care, as well as providing radiation therapy services outside of Winnipeg for the first time.

"The centre will be of enormous benefit to the residents of western Manitoba, reducing travel and expenses for cancer treatment and enabling many to return to the comfort of their homes following treatment," said Brian Schoonbaert, chief executive officer of the Brandon Regional Health Authority. "In addition, the alliance involving Manitoba Health, CancerCare Manitoba and the Brandon region demonstrates how partnerships and innovation can lead to improvement in the health-care system."

Once fully operational, the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre will provide a hub of cancer services including:
  • a radiation therapy department with a linear accelerator for treatment;
  • a chemotherapy unit with 20 chemotherapy treatment stations and support space;
  • a supportive care area for a pharmacist, dietician, a social worker and psychologist;
  • an outpatient clinic;
  • a quiet area for patients and family members; and
  • volunteer space.

The centre is a partnership that blends the staff and expertise of both the Brandon Regional Health Authority and CancerCare Manitoba, creating 32 new positions in Brandon. Information technology further complements the partnership by seamlessly connecting staff in Winnipeg and Brandon, encouraging medical consultations and educational exchanges without the need for travel.

"Teamwork has been key in bringing this facility into existence, and we look forward to continuing this partnership as the doors open," said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba. "We are committed to providing the highest quality care closer to home for the residents of Brandon and western Manitoba."

The premier noted the new centre builds on other recent investments in cancer services including:
  • committing $40 million to streamline cancer services, improve the cancer patient journey and reduce wait times;
  • committing to invest $70 million in a new-state-of-the-art facility for CancerCare Manitoba to improve diagnostics, treatment and research that will help Manitoba families;
  • improving access to breast cancer screening with the replacement of two mobile breast cancer screening vans;
  • investing $720,000 to provide community cancer services as well as health and wellness programs at a new wellness centre in Eriksdale;
  • implementing Coloncheck, Manitoba?s colorectal cancer screening program;
  • increasing funding for oncology drugs and adding new cancer drugs to the provincial formulary;
  • reducing wait times for radiation therapy to a best-in-Canada median of one week from a six-week average wait in 1999 (up to 18 weeks for starting prostate cancer treatments), and ensuring these waits stay short with a wait-time guarantee; and
  • focusing on prevention through healthy living initiatives and funding voluntary HPV vaccination.


Western Manitoba Cancer Centre

The Western Manitoba Cancer Centre is being developed through a partnership between the Brandon Regional Health Authority and CancerCare Manitoba. The total project cost is approximately $24 million.

The building is an approximately 22,250-square-foot, single-storey building with a partial basement and crawlspace. It is connected to Brandon Regional Health Centre via a tunnel. The building has been constructed in compliance with the Government of Manitoba's Green Building Policy. The following are some examples of the technology and building techniques that were used:
  • geothermal technology,
  • extensive use of natural light,
  • heat-recovery systems,
  • daylight and occupancy sensors, and
  • low-flow toilets and infrared sinks.

The Western Manitoba Cancer Centre will house:
  • a central waiting area and reception for all patients;
  • a clinic area with four exam rooms, a central clinic control area, a multidisciplinary workroom, a group room and a rounds room;
  • the expanded chemotherapy department including regular patient stations as well as a stretcher bay, phlebotomy chairs and a full isolation room;
  • the radiation therapy department, with a waiting/change area, a CT simulator, a full treatment-planning department, a state-of-the-art linear accelerator and a nuclear electronics/physics lab;
  • numerous rooms/areas that will help to enhance the patient experience including a Look Good, Feel Better room, a teaching room and a garden area; and
  • space for volunteers, who provide valuable support to patients and staff.

There will be extensive use of information technology including:
  • four permanent Manitoba Telehealth units to allow patients to have clinic visits with oncologists in Winnipeg, enhancing services that already exist in Brandon;
  • treatment planning for radiation therapy patients will be directly linked to CancerCare Manitoba to allow for multidisciplinary consulting;
  • introduction of tablet PCs for health-care workers to create efficiencies in workflow; and
  • electronic patient check-in.

The bunker housing the linear accelerator will be built above ground, a first in Manitoba. It will also be door-free, another first for Manitoba. The linear accelerator will be capable of delivering radiation using the latest treatment techniques. The centre will also have a dedicated CT simulator equipped with all the latest technology.

This facility and program will lead to the creation of approximately 32 new positions, a combination of CancerCare Manitoba and Brandon Regional Health Authority staff.

In 2002, 257 patients from the Brandon and Assiniboine health regions had at least one course of radiation therapy and were required to travel to Winnipeg to receive this treatment. It is projected that between 300 and 400 patients per year will receive their radiation therapy in Brandon.

The Western Manitoba Cancer Centre will link current and existing resources such as chemotherapy, early detection and surveillance resources, self-help survivorship groups, volunteer activities, etc., with the new resources to help prevent gaps and disconnects for patients and families.


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