Fighting Cancer, One Day at a Time

Cancer. A word that strikes fear and that touches, on average, one Quebecer every 8 minutes1. And at our CIUSSS, we are there every step of the way, assures Maya Jeanty, Department Manager of Community Oncology Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital Centre (SMHC) and the Lakeshore General Hospital (LGH) Oncology Clinic. Every year, close to 15,000 patients come through the doors of our two facilities to receive various types of treatments such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. There is also a service corridor in place with the Jewish General Hospital and the McGill University Health Centre for patients who must undergo radiation therapy. 

Each of our CIUSSS’ two treatment centres are staffed by more than twenty professionals and volunteers who work tirelessly, each and every day, to ensure the well-being of our users. When someone is diagnosed with cancer, their case is reviewed by the Tumour Board, which is composed of medical specialists, pharmacists, nurses and other professionals, who meet to come up with a treatment plan. A plan that can change along the way, based on results and prognosis. “Before treatment begins, each patient is invited to an orientation session to learn more about the treatment process and what to expect,” explains Ms. Jeanty. “Being diagnosed with cancer  causes a great deal of anxiety and we strive to do our best to give patients all the support they need,” she adds.

Treatments are administered by oncology clinical nurse specialists who are also responsible for managing symptoms and side effects, coordinating care and facilitating access to other professionals or the palliative care team for counselling or other services aimed at the patient and sometimes even the patient’s loved ones.   

“The teams at both our centres are competent, passionate and care deeply about the patients and their families. They show so much humanity, day in and day out. I’m very fortunate and proud to have spent the last 24 years working in such a supportive environment,” adds Ms. Jeanty. Patients referred to our treatment centres come often and, in some instances, for lengthy periods. Like members of an extended family, patients bond with the staff for whom they are very grateful and, in turn, want to do their part and do so by donating to the foundations. 

As is the case on all the care units, employee retention and budget restrictions are everyday challenges. And while SMHC is equipped with electronic medical records, they are not, as of yet, available LGH. Be that as it may, Ms. Jeanty and her team are determined and have several projects in the works! Among them, the creation of emergency clinics and an Onco-info line, the expansion of the smoking cessation program, the introduction of a dashboard, and a satisfaction survey, to name but a few!  

Did you know that our CIUSSS is part of the Rossy Cancer Network, a partnership between McGill University and several hospital centres? Its mission is to improve quality, effectiveness and efficiency across the continuum of cancer care. Despite the increase in the number of cancer cases, the mortality rate has decreased by 26% among women and by 39% among men since 19882. Thank you to these amazing teams who look after the well-being of our users with competence and compassion!

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