We have over 250 staff, each playing a vital role in providing you with quality cancer care.
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.
As well as the staff you will meet regularly, your cancer care team will include staff working in patient records, radiation electronics, administration, etc. Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Remember that although you will see different health care professionals, your family doctor is still in charge of any general health problems you may have, and continues to play a major role in your ongoing care. Your family doctor will receive regular reports regarding your cancer and care from your treatment team.
For contact information see Vancouver Island Centre Directory.
Patient & Family Counselling Services (PFC) has professional counsellors and social workers available to help you and your loved ones deal with the emotional and practical challenges associated with cancer. All members of our counselling team are qualified at the Master's Level and are trained and experienced in helping cancer patients and their families. Counselling support can help you to clarify concerns, express emotions and discover the strengths you'll need to cope successfully. They can also connect you with the many support programs available at the BC Cancer Agency as well as with community groups and other services.
Call 250.519.5525 to make an appointment with one of the PFC team.
The Vancouver Island Cancer Centre has a large welcoming library in the Alex and Jo Campbell Patient and Family Support Centre on the third floor. There is a professional librarian available to help patients, their families, members of the community and staff answer their questions. The librarian can help visitors find resources about cancer, its treatment and how to cope, in the library or online.
Toll-free 1-800-670-3322 ext. 5517 (within British Columbia and Yukon only)
Medical oncologists work with you when the recommended treatment for your cancer is chemotherapy or hormone therapy (systemic therapy). Chemotherapy and hormone therapy use drugs to destroy cancer cells. You may take these drugs by mouth, or may have them injected through a vein in your arm. A medical oncologist will discuss your treatment with you and will recommend a treatment program, but the actual treatment will be carried out by a number of other health care professionals.
During each visit to the Cancer Centre you will have an opportunity to meet with an oncology nurse. He or she is specially trained to provide care and support to people with cancer. Registered Nurses practice within several patient care areas within the Cancer Centre. These areas include the Radiation Therapy Program, Chemotherapy Treatment Room, Patient Support Clinic, Telephone Nursing Line and the Research Units. All of the nurses are committed to providing you with support and information. You can ask them to explain technical terms or to put you in touch with other professionals at the Cancer Centre or in your home community.
As a new patient you will be seen by a patient care aide who will take your height, weight and blood pressure before you see your doctor. They can also assist you with the coordination of your appointments and referrals.
Medications used to treat cancer are clinically evaluated and dispensed at the cancer centre by a team of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy assistants. These medications, which are provided free of charge, will either be administered at the cancer centre or will be given to you to take at home. Pharmacists will provide you with detailed verbal and written information about the drugs you will take at home. They will also review your other medications to ensure they are safe to take with the cancer treatment. Our pharmacists are available to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have about your cancer medications.
Prescriptions for medications for supportive care, such as antinauseants or pain control medications, must be taken to and paid for at a community pharmacy. For more information, see Drug Funding
See the Services
section for pharmacy hours and contact information.
A radiation oncologist is a specialist physician with expertise in cancer management and in particular the uses of radiation therapy to treat cancer.
The radiation oncologist, in consultation with you, decides whether radiation therapy will be helpful in a particular situation, the part of the body to be included in the radiation beam, and how long your treatment will last; and monitors your progress during and after treatment. Radiation therapy uses beams of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. A radiation oncologist works with a team of physicists and therapists to design and deliver a safe and effective radiation therapy plan
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. Radiation therapists have a fundamental role in managing your care while you are receiving radiation therapy. 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 treatment providing education and support, and will provide links to other heath care professionals as required.
The main reception area is located on the first floor, at the Lee Street entrance to the centre. Please check in at this desk when you arrive. The receptionist will be happy to direct you to the correct area for your appointment.
You and your family may have a number of questions about nutrition. "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?" 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 your treatment.
The unit clerk supports patient care by efficiently and accurately transcribing physician orders, scheduling patient appointments, maintaining patient records, arranging patient tests and receiving results, and receiving and directing patients and visitors. The unit clerk liaises with other departments and agencies who provide patient care services.
Volunteers at the BC Cancer Agency are here to help support the experience of patients, and others, during their cancer journey. They are available in your Cancer Centre to offer assistance and comfort to patients, their family members, friends and other visitors. You may find volunteers escorting patients to their appointments, offering resource materials, introducing patients to staff, selling refreshments or providing companionship during visits to the centre.