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Cancer Care Team

People who have used BC Cancer centres give this advice to new patients:

"Take full advantage of the team and services offered to you."

The BC Cancer, Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior has a staff of more than 220 health care professionals, each essential to providing quality cancer care for you. 

Some work directly with you to treat your cancer, others help you deal with the impact of cancer on you, your family and your friends, while others do not deal directly with you but are still vital to your treatment.

To reach us, see the Hours and Contacts page.

Professionally trained social workers and counsellors who specialize in cancer care are available to support you through the course of your illness and can provide individual, couple and family counselling support. In addition, they can provide assistance and information about many of the practical and financial concerns associated with cancer and its treatment.

Dentists assess your mouth to see if there are any concerns that need to be addressed prior to radiation or chemotherapy. They will also advise you in mouth care during and following your treatment.

Our registered dietitians are skilled in the nutritional care of people with cancer and provide counselling to manage the various symptoms related to eating which might arise during treatment. You and your family may have questions about nutrition, such as, "Should I change the way I eat during cancer treatment?" or "What can I do if I have lost my appetite or I am losing weight?" 


Medical librarians are experts in locating health information. BC Cancer Library staff will help patients, members of the public and health-care professionals to find information. We use a wide variety of resources, including electronic information sources and Internet searches.


Oncology nurses include Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses who have additional education in cancer care. Nurses in the SAH-CSI work within:

  • Clinical Trials
  • Dentistry
  • Pain & Symptom Management and Palliative Care Programs
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Systemic Therapy (Chemotherapy)
Nurse Practitioners also work alongside some oncologists at SAHCSI.

Nurses provide care  to patients and families throughout the cancer experience, including health assessment, patient education, symptom and side effect management, care coordination and support. Some nurses administer chemotherapy and provide care to those patients, while other nurses provide care to patients receiving radiation therapy and other treatments. All nurses work together to provide the best overall care.

Many patients will meet an oncology nurse on their first visit to BC Cancer and on an ongoing basis while receiving treatment and care. 

During your treatments and while you are in the centre, you will have access to a nurse if you are experiencing side effects or have questions.

If you are not in the centre, you still have access to a nurse during regular business hours by phoning into the Cancer Centre to speak with a nurse. If your concerns require another health care professional, the nurse will make a referral to the proper person to help you.


An oncologist is a physician who has extra training in treating patients with cancer. This is the person who will treat your cancer. He or she will make recommendations about the types of tests, treatment or help you need. An oncologist will likely specialize in one of three types of treatment - radiation therapy, chemotherapy or surgery.

Medical Oncologist

Medical oncologists work with you when the recommended treatment for your cancer is chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

While your oncologist will discuss your treatment with you and will recommend what you should do, the actual treatment will be prepared by pharmacists and carried out by a cancer care nurse.

Radiation Oncologist

Radiation oncologists are responsible for recommending treatment with radiation therapy. He or she will decide how long your treatment will last and will monitor your progress during and after treatment. Your radiation oncologist works with a team of physicists, radiation therapists, and nurses to provide your radiation therapy.

Surgical Oncologist

Surgeons specializing in cancer operations and advanced surgical approaches, and the multidisciplinary care of patients with cancer.

Clinical Associates (GPO) 

General Practitioners in Oncology (GPOs) are doctors who have special training in oncology and provide treatment and care of cancer. They work closely with your oncologist to support you during your treatment and monitor your treatment plan.

Pharmacy staff will provide, free of charge, many of the cancer drugs prescribed for your treatment. They will prepare the drugs that are administered while you are at the centre, and will provide you with some of the drugs which you will take at home. 

You will be given verbal and written instructions about your medications when they are dispensed. Pharmacists review all other medications or supplements you are taking to ensure that they are safe to take with your cancer medications.

Our pharmacists are always happy to discuss any questions about your prescriptions. 

Hours of Operation and Contact Information


Medical Physicists have overall responsibility for the scientific aspects of treatments in the radiation therapy department. Our physicists are also involved with cancer care research.

Psychiatrists are medical specialists trained in the diagnosis and management of mental illness. Psychiatrists at BC Cancer have a special interest and expertise in working with cancer patients and their illness experience, assisting them with psychological issues, symptom management, treatment crisis and rehabilitation issues. They collaborate closely with Patient and Family Counselling Services.

Referral for a consultation must be made by an oncologist, other specialist or a family physician.

‎Radiation therapists plan and deliver radiation treatments according to the prescription of the radiation oncologist. They have expert knowledge of treatment principles and calculations required for safe and accurate treatment delivery.  

The radiation therapist will have daily contact with you throughout the treatment program and your well-being is their major focus. They will guide you through radiation therapy providing education and support, and will provide links to other heath care professionals as required.

Volunteers are here to support the experience of patients, families and visitors during their time at the centre. They are available to offer you assistance and comfort, help escort and direct you or refer you to health care staff. Volunteers also offer refreshments and companionship while at the centre.

In addition to the staff you will meet regularly, your complete cancer care team includes many more professionals who work together to provide your care.

Please refer to the list above for descriptions of staff you might encounter. 

For more information about the BC Cancer Agency team, see Your Visit. To learn about your care, visit Your Journey With Us.

SOURCE: Cancer Care Team ( )
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