December 30, 2014 3:28 pm

Calgary cancer patient shares experience of being sick in Alberta


CALGARY – An Alberta cancer patient is speaking out about her experience at a Calgary cancer centre plagued by long wait times and overcrowding.

“If your treatment is going to be less than two hours you don’t even get a bed,” Mary Beth Eckersley told Global News on Monday.

Eckersley has had to go through  surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment for her breast cancer and she says the state of cancer care in Calgary has made the experience that much more difficult.

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Without the necessary space at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, clinics are spread out all over the city.

Eckersley had her initial surgery at Peter Lougheed Hospital, her initial review at Holy Cross Center and her first treatment at Tom Baker.

 “It’s so crowded and so busy that there’s a waiting list and a lineup every day.”

READ MORE: Tories under fire for Tom Baker cancer centre delays

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The Alberta Cancer Foundation has been lobbying for a new centre, a one-stop shop for all cancer care that would expand patient access to new cutting edge cancer therapy.

 “This new cancer centre would make it possible to double the amount of clinical trials held in this city, which for some patients is the life saver.”

But earlier this month, the province announced the new centre would be delayed due to falling oil prices.

WATCH BELOW: New cancer centre delayed due to falling oil prices

Advocates say even without the delay, a new centre would not open to patients until 2020. They say waiting any longer is simply unacceptable.

“We need to stop blaming gas prices. Either you planned the project or you didn’t plan the project properly,” said Lynn VanHyfte of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

 “If you didn’t plan the project properly, fine, we need to get past the blaming and find a way to get this moving forward.”

An official decision on the centre will not be made until the budget is tabled next year.


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