Cancer doesn’t keep office hours. Just ask Christopher Kucharski. Diagnosed last August with an aggressive form of leukemia, Kucharski received a bone marrow transplant at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, and the clinic has been keeping a close watch on his recovery ever since.
“My body’s condition and the treatment for it doesn’t simply adhere to a Monday to Friday schedule,” Kucharski said. “Conditions change, issues arise, and having access to the clinic can become very important.”
In January, the clinic expanded its service hours, offering weekend treatment in its Bone and Marrow Transplant Clinic and longer weekday hours. Kucharski embraced the new schedule as it better suited his own, but found increased access to the clinic critical not long after the change.
Kucharski said a late January weekend visit to the clinic revealed he was experiencing low oxygen levels. Had the clinic not been open, he said he would have gone untreated for at least two days which may have resulted in hospitalization.
“There is tremendous relief and comfort in knowing seven-day-a-week care is available,” said Kucharski.
On average, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre treats as many as 30 patients every weekend.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman told reporters a growing number of people are being diagnosed with cancer in Alberta. The Alberta Cancer Foundation pegs the number at around 43 people being given a diagnosis every day. She said expanding the hours of operation at Baker and the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton just makes sense.
“We are committed to ensuring that [cancer patients] get timely access to the services that they need,” Hoffman said.