The soon-to-be completed BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the North will be wonderful news for communities all over the Northwest

The soon-to-be completed BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the North will be wonderful news for communities all over the Northwest

Cancer centre will be a boon locally as well

The construction of the BC Cancer Agency’s Centre for the North is well on its way for completion, which is wonderful news for communities all over northwest B.C., Smithers included.

That was the predominant message that Sonya Kruger with the Northern Cancer Control Strategy brought to council last week as a delegation.

She was in town, following up on a presentation given to council about a year ago to review not only the Centre for the North, but other initiatives of the strategy, and ways our community could help.

The strategy, a partnership between Northern health, the BC Cancer Agency and the Provincial Health Authority, is focused on decreasing cancer incidences, decreasing mortality rates while increasing access to services and increasing the quality of life for patients with cancer.

“It’s exciting that we have this project in the north,” Kruger said.

And it’s even more exciting that, as the Centre for the North is completed in September of 2012, northern B.C. residents will have access to radiation therapy services, a service not available north of Kelowna at the moment.

The centre will work in tandem with the cancer clinics throughout Northern Health to provide a higher level of services available. The Smithers clinic was recently renovated, providing more room for staff and patients alike.

Apart from that exciting news, the strategy is continuing prevention, especially when it comes to tobacco. Radon gas awareness initiatives are also ongoing. Tele-health, and tele-oncology, are two technologically driven ways that northern residents can benefit from greater access, without greater cost.

Tele-oncology units have just been installed and are fully operational at the Centre for the North, Kruger said, so now it’s just a matter of getting the word out. Across Northern Health there are now 14 tele-health units available. That’s up from the originally scheduled 12 units planned, Kruger said. While initial medical visits do need to be face-to-face, a lot of the follow-up appointments can be via tele-health services.

“The really great thing about tele-health is improving access to services,” Kruger said.

To stay involved, Kruger asked that Mayor, Council and Staff check out their website, northerncancerstrategy.ca or check out their page on Facebook.