Cancer care in the region is about to officially get a whole lot more convenient.
The brand new B.C. Cancer Agency Centre for the North will be unveiled Monday when Premier Christy Clark visits the facility.
The premier's office issued a news release late Friday afternoon announcing her involvement in a ceremony for "a major milestone in cancer care in the north." Government officials will not confirm that the event will serve as a ribbon cutting, but the building is complete and the equipment has been tested. Joining Clark for the announcement will be Liberal MLAs Shirley Bond, Pat Bell and John Rustad.
The $69.9 million facility has been years in the making and becomes the sixth regional treatment centre in the province, joining a network which includes Abbotsford, Kelowna, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.
The 54,000-square-foot centre is equipped with all the latest bells and whistles, but most importantly for local patients it means radiation treatment will now be available in Prince George.
A brand new computerized-tomography simulator will be used to map out the radiation treatment and a pair of linear accelerators will be used in providing the radiation therapy.
The brightly-lit building has wide hallways and features both wood and river motifs as part of its decor, reflecting the history of the region.
Among the innovative features is the shared clinic between the radiation and medical oncology streams. It's the first time the cancer agency has built a joint clinic design into a new facility and was done because many patients receive both radiation and chemotherapy as part of their treatments.
The building is also equipped with state-of-the-art teleconference equipment which will allow patients in outlying communities to communicate with doctors without having to travel to Prince George. Doctors will also use the technology to take part in discussions with province-wide tumor groups to discuss treatment options in challenging or unique cases.
In addition to the treatment areas, there are two outdoor patios patients and their families will be able to enjoy - one of each level - as they wait for appointments or just need a break.
The new cancer centre was first announced in 2008 with groundbreaking taking place in 2010. Construction was completed earlier this year and staff have already begun to move into their offices.
The Canadian Cancer Society's Kordyban Lodge, located next to the centre, will open next year and will give out-of-town patients and their caregivers a place to stay while undergoing treatment. The exact date the lodge will open has yet to be announced.
The cancer agency had previously announced it was holding an open house on Monday afternoon for public to tour the new building and see the high-tech gear that's now available to local patients and medical professionals. The open house will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.