CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

December 4, 2013

Newly Opened Urgent Cancer Care Clinic, Cancer Helpline To Better Support Patients, Families: Minister Selby

Patients with cancer and blood disorders needing care to quickly address symptoms related to their disease and side effects from treatment are now able to access treatment at the newly opened Urgent Cancer Care Clinic at CancerCare Manitoba and the Cancer Helpline, Health Minister Erin Selby announced today.

"When you're living with cancer, it's a scary journey. Knowing professionals are there to help you find the specialized care you need quickly will provide immense relief for patients and their families," said Minister Selby. "With the newly opened Urgent Cancer Care Clinic and the Cancer Helpline, health professionals with expertise in cancer and emergency care are now available to provide dedicated health-care services to cancer patients and those with blood disorders in need of urgent care."

Patients are encouraged to call the Cancer Helpline at 204-787-8900 to get advice on the most appropriate service. Callers will receive information on how to best manage their symptoms and or side effects, and get answers to questions about their health. The clinic currently operates Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but hours will be extended to include evening and weekend care once the service ramps up, said the minister.

"This clinic and helpline offer expert and prompt help to rapidly and efficiently manage side effects of treatment or symptoms of cancer," said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba.

The Urgent Cancer Care Clinic is conveniently located on the main floor at CancerCare Manitoba. This clinic and the helpline are staffed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of nurses, family physician oncologists, oncology specialists, support staff and nurse practitioners. These health-care providers can order diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and consult with the patient's oncologists as needed.

Previously, cancer patients with treatment-related concerns had to try to make an appointment with their oncologist or go to an emergency department for assistance. In the first few weeks of operation, 123 patients were seen in the clinic and 92 calls came in to the helpline. This care resulted in the avoidance of an estimated 13 hospitalizations and more than 100 trips to an emergency department, the minister said, adding the average wait for care in the clinic has been 25 minutes.

Information about how to access the new clinic and helpline is being given directly to all patients undergoing cancer treatment at CancerCare. Patient feedback will be used to evaluate the new services to ensure they are meeting patient needs.

The increased access to extended care builds on IN SIXTY, the provincial cancer patient journey initiative. This $40-million initiative is designed to expedite cancer testing and treatment from when cancer is first suspected by delivering care more effectively and co-ordinating services between health-care providers, Minister Selby said.

The new services meet commitments to develop after-hours care services for cancer patients, as outlined in Manitoba's Cancer Strategy 2012-2017. The Urgent Cancer Care Clinic and the Cancer Helpline are both funded out of existing CancerCare Manitoba budgets.

The new clinic builds on other service expansions at CancerCare Manitoba including the extended hours clinic opened in November that provides chemotherapy and other therapies at the 675 McDermot St. site until 10 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends.

The development of the Urgent Cancer Care Clinic also enhances Manitoba's strong record of being world leaders in the support of cancer patients and fight against the disease, the minister noted, citing Manitoba as one of the first provinces to cover the full cost cancer drugs for all patients.

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