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Cancer care centre uses latest technologies

NEWMARKET, Ont. – In what’s being billed as the future of cancer treatment in North America, a world-class cancer centre officially opened its doors in Newmarket – featuring some of the most advanced radiation and chemotherapy equipment.

As a North American showcase site for Elekta Canada Inc. – a pioneer in the development of innovative clinical solutions for treating cancer, including intelligent technologies – the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre is equipped with the world’s latest cancer treatment technology, and is also one of the first centres to use a fully integrated electronic health record system for both medical and radiation oncology, thereby eliminating the need for cumbersome patient files.

Each treatment room contains image-guided radiation therapy and Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), both considered the “gold standard” in radiation therapy equipment. This sophisticated equipment enables the healthcare team to more accurately and precisely target the area requiring treatment. For patients, this translates to more rapid treatments and less risk of side-effects.

Architecturally designed with the belief that environment influences a person’s mood and has positive psychological effects, the centre exudes a tranquil and comforting feel, featuring a two-storey wall of windows that overlook a healing garden, natural stone fireplaces, cabinets finished in warm wood tones and a large water feature.

Five years in the making, the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake is the centerpiece of Southlake Regional Health Centre’s Regional Cancer Program, which will serve more than 1.2 million York Region and south Simcoe County residents. With a total project cost of $74.3 million, the cancer centre was funded through a generous commitment of almost $54 million from the provincial government, with the remainder generated through the hospital’s fundraising campaign.

“Today marks a special day for communities North of Toronto,” said Dan Carriere (pictured),  President and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, in unveiling the new centre. “This moment culminates the final step in our journey to bring advanced cancer care services closer to home for the residents in York Region and south Simcoe County.”

Previously, patients needing radiation therapy – a required treatment for almost 60 per cent of cancer patients – would have faced daily commutes to Toronto to receive treatment. “This trip is never easy on a good day and can only be described as torturous when you are feeling unwell,” explained Carriere. “We thank the Province of Ontario and our generous community for ensuring local residents gain much deserved access to the vital services they need to lead healthier lives closer to their families and communities.”

The Stronach Regional Cancer Centre is the province’s 14th radiation therapy centre and serves as the designated radiation site for York Region and south Simcoe County. Now operational, the centre delivered its first radiation therapy on March 15 and began chemotherapy services last month.

The leading-edge facility was built to accommodate six radiation treatment rooms, of which three are currently fully equipped and operational, a 23-chair chemotherapy unit, two multidisciplinary out-patient clinics (with capacity to add a third clinic), and a designated space for clinical procedures, drug and equipment trials. With the prevalence of cancer in York Region and south Simcoe County on the rise, it is anticipated that the remaining three radiation rooms will need to be equipped and fully operational by 2013.

“Our government is committed to improving access to cancer care in the province,” said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This new state-of-the-art facility will help meet the increasing needs of this rapidly growing area, providing quality cancer care and treatment closer to home.”

Acknowledging the vital support received from Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) – the provincial agency that oversees cancer care services in the province – Carriere also thanked CCO President and CEO Mr. Terrence Sullivan for his “unwavering leadership and commitment to continually improving cancer care throughout the province.”

“The opening of the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre is in itself a marvel. It represents the shortest cycle from plan to opening of a cancer center in Ontario’s history. It not only brings the highest level of cancer care to the growing number of people living in this region but is a celebration,” said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “Working hand-in-hand with regional cancer partners, the Stronach Centre will have a significant impact on improving access and reducing wait times for cancer diagnosis and treatment.”

For Stronach Regional Cancer Centre patient Carol White, the new centre has helped ease the stress related to her illness. White, a retired school teacher who also suffers from cardiac issues, appreciated the collaborative efforts of Southlake’s cancer and cardiac teams in providing “the best and safest possible treatment for my breast cancer,” she said.

“I was so pleased to be able to receive my radiation treatments at the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre because I knew that I would be treated by highly, skilled professionals using precise and accurate radiation equipment in a beautiful spa-like setting,” said White. “It was amazing how everyone worked as a team, and I appreciate and thank them all very much for providing me with this opportunity.”

Southlake’s vision to bring comprehensive cancer care services to York Region began in 2004 when the hospital announced its intentions to ensure that cancer care services are available closer to home for all residents. Construction of the facility officially kicked-off in August 2007, creating approximately 160 construction-related jobs as well as 150 new healthcare positions to support the centre.

About Southlake Regional Health Centre
Southlake Regional Health Centre is a full service Hospital with a regional, clinically advanced focus. Southlake offers 370 patient beds and accommodates approximately 71,000 emergency visits, 22,000 inpatient admissions and 300,000 out-patient visits each year. As a regionally designated site, Southlake is responsible for developing and providing advanced levels of care to the over one million people who reside in York Region, Simcoe County, and in some cases, as far north as Muskoka. Advanced, specialty services include cardiac care, cancer care, child and adolescent eating disorders, mental health services for children, paediatrics and perinatal care, thoracic and cataract surgery, and arthritis care. Recently, Southlake announced its plans to formalize its training initiatives by becoming a full-fledged teaching and research centre. The Hospital is currently affiliated with the University of Toronto in the training of medical residents as part of the Academic Family Health Team at Southlake and in addition, has developed a partnership with York University to bring ground-breaking research projects to the hospital through the creation of the Research Institute at Southlake. For more information, visit

Posted June 17, 2010