New cancer treatment centre opens

Nestled among the mountains, and just a stone’s throw from beautiful Okanagan Lake, lies British Columbia’s newest cancer treatment centre. The B.C Cancer Agency’s Cancer Centre for the Southern Interior (CCSI) opened in April, 1998 with a warm welcome from the community — more than 4,000 people visited the open house on the weekend before it began treating patients.

The new centre — with its $9 million worth of radiation therapy and treatment planning equipment — was constructed as a result of a marked increase in the number of cancer cases in what is one of Canada’s fastest-growing communities.

Largely funded by the Ministry of Health, the $30.5-million facility is operated by the B.C Cancer Agency, with essential supporting services provided by Kelowna General Hospital.

“At the CCSI, we base our approach to care and treatment on the foundation of B.C. Cancer Agency standards and provincial programs,” says Dr. Bill Nelems, B.C. Cancer Agency Vice-President, Regional Services, Southern Interior. “This approach features teamwork and equality plus a focus on empowering patients as they progress through treatment. Patients are able to concentrate on one thing — gettinwell.”

The CCSI provides a wide range of cancer care services to people throughout central, southern and southeastern B.C. — more than 1,800 new patients are expected to use its facilities in its first year of operation, and capacity will increase to 2,800 patients each year by 2006. Services provided include: assessment; radiation therapy; chemotherapy; surgical oncology; patient and family counselling; and nutrition counselling.