Starting in October 2016, Edmonton’s Cross Cancer Institute extended medical oncology services from five to six days each week, with radiation oncology hours extending another hour from Monday to Friday. In January 2017, Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Centre opened the doors to its Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic on weekends and extended its weekday hours.
Extended hours allow more patients to access care in an outpatient setting and the extra time has already made a difference. As reported in March of this year, the province has seen an overall increase of 3.7 per cent in all cancer treatments in Alberta — radiation therapy treatments specifically have increased by 5.6 per cent. There has also been a decrease in average radiation therapy ready to treat wait times, down to 2.7 weeks, which is close to the province’s target of 2.6.
The Tom Baker Cancer Centre’s Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinic is open seven days a week, including from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends, and radiation therapy is now available a half hour earlier and later, open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Medical oncology services at the Cross Cancer Institute are open from Monday to Saturday, including long weekends.