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Hundreds of cancer patients affected by AHS closures

CALGARY- Facing cancer is difficult enough, but this week a bad situation became even worse for Janice Tanton.

“The hardest day was that day I found out I had cancer and the second hardest day was finding out out on Friday that I couldn’t have chemo,” recalls the 51-year-old breast cancer patient.

Her final round of chemotherapy has been delayed by a power problem at the Canmore Hospital. In Canmore, a total of seven cancer patients have been impacted. 11 cancer patients in High River have also been forced to miss chemotherapy this week. Fortunately, as of Tuesday, AHS says it has been able to find alternative arrangement and chemotherapy for all 18 patients is set to resume.

Within Calgary, Alberta Health Services relies heavily on clinics at the Holy Cross Centre to deliver cancer care.  Clinics there see 100 patients daily, five days a week, but all of those appointments have been cancelled since flooding in Mission forced the facility to close.

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“At the Holy Cross the basement has been flooded and although the building manager hasn’t give us a time on how long the facility will be closed, we are predicting about four to six weeks of clinical space was needed to be found somewhere else,” explains Dr. Peter Craighead, Tom Baker Cancer Centre medical director.

On Tuesday, July 2nd a new cancer clinic will be opened in the Richmond Road Diagnostic Centre (the former site of the Alberta Children’s Hospital). 85 per cent of the clinics displaced from the Holy Cross Centre will move to the new site, the rest will move to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

“It’s very, very tight,” Dr. Craighead says of the facility that reached capacity nearly a decade ago. “We’ve actually had to change room assignments and essentially pinch and scrape and save here and there.”

AHS will begin contacting patients over the next few days about re-scheduled appointments.