CANCER CARE

Photo credit: Jags Brown

HAIDA GWAII CANCER CARE PROGRAM

As of June 21st 2019, due to staffing shortages, patients requiring intravenous chemotherapy will have to travel off island to access their treatments. 

Northern Health is actively recruiting a pharmacy technician and this time and we hope this service interruption will be resolved in the near future. 

For the past 10 years, the Haida Gwaii Cancer Care team has worked in close collaboration with BC Cancer and Northern Health to provide islanders with timely access to cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. The team consists of local physicians, nurses and pharmacy technicians with specialized training in oncology.

Most people who need chemotherapy can choose to receive it on Haida Gwaii, at the X̱aayda Gwaay Ngaaysdll Naay – Haida Gwaii Hospital & Health Centre. Radiation therapy and some forms of intensive chemotherapy require travel to a more specialized medical centre (usually in Prince George, Vancouver or Victoria).

We realise how important it is for all of us to be able to seek care close to home, especially when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The Haida Gwaii Cancer Care team was created because of our wish to address this important community need. It must be said, however, that delivering chemotherapy on Haida Gwaii does present some significant challenges. As an isolated community, we sometimes face delays in medication delivery, especially in the winter months when the weather affects transport logistics. As a small team, we also have faced, on occasion, staffing shortages, although we are actively working on training additional staff to ensure continuity of care. For these reasons, if you choose to pursue your chemotherapy on Haida Gwaii, you may on occasion experience a delay in treatment delivery. There may also be times where you may need to go off island for one or more chemotherapy cycles. Fortunately, until now, these delays and interruptions have been rare, but we wish you and your family to factor in these challenges when deciding on where to seek care. If you feel the challenges of receiving care on Haida Gwaii are unacceptable, we will assist you with the logistics of seeking care off-island, in a larger centre. 

For more information on how to connect with the Haida Gwaii Cancer Care team, please contact your family doctor’s office at your nearest Health Centre.

For reliable, up-to-date information about cancer prevention, screening and therapy in BC, please visit the BC Cancer website.

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