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Oncologist and chemotherapy waiting time
Marsha_K
8 Posts
Hello everyone
I am a new diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer 51 years old woman, unfortunately, the surgery was unsuccessful, and now I was referring to to BC cancer agency for the chemotherapy.
My doctor said that the waiting time for an oncologist and chemotherapy in BC is about 2 months now, for me, that means I won't even get a chance to start chemo.
Maybe someone was in such a situation, how can I get to an oncologist faster? we are ready to move to any province. I will be grateful for any advice.
23 Replies
supersu
1297 Posts

@Marsha_K
oh marsha….your post has broken my heart. 💔

I can understand why you would be willing to relocate to receive treatment.
perhaps try speaking with the cancer specialists: 1-888-939-3333.
they may have some insights to waiting lists etc over this country.

I will cross all fingers and toes that something comes up where you are….

hugs
su

#Pancreaticcancer #waitinglists

DonnaL1959
33 Posts

@Marsha_K I'm so angry on your behalf. Tell them it is unacceptable. Ask them to call every BC hospital and that you are willing to travel to start chemo ASAP. Call the receptionist at the chemo booking desk at the hospital your onc. suggested and tell her you will take ANY cancellation appointment, including day of treatment and that your start date is URGENT and that you are trying to save your life. Ask your onc. to mark your case ‘urgent’ and if he/she won't do it - ask for a second opinion from an onc. at another hospital ASAP. When I was given horrible wait times, I called the booking desks for some tests and chemo appointments and was the nicest person they talked to that day and they went to bat for me and got me in earlier for a CT scan and chemo when they got cancellations that morning - I am in Ontario and was very unhappy with the wait times I was given. I also called first thing in the AM and was able to get first dibs on some cancellations. You need to be proactive about your own care. I was right to be concerned - it turned out my ovarian cancer is rare, aggressive and very fast-growing. If I had waited for them to book me in, I may well not be here now. I have no idea if your cancer is slow or fast growing though - try to find out - ask the onc point blank what the delay may mean for you. Good luck with this.

Marsha_K
8 Posts

@DonnaL1959thank you so much for your answer. Unfortunately, my cancer is very aggressive and fast growing.

I will try to follow your advice, and I hope to get the treatment as soon as possible.

Marsha_K
8 Posts

@supersuthank you! My son will call them today. I feel that even in such low point I have a small chance to win, and it looks unfair to loose this chance because of long waiting time(

Whitelilies
2447 Posts

@Marsha_K Hi Marsha…..I too feel upset, on your behalf! Waiting is so hard and unfair.

My ideas are…..reach the Nurse Navigator at your hospital….ask/plead for help, for your case/your file/your need for chemo, pronto!

Reach the Hospital-Patient Ombudsman - they may be able to help…push things along…..

When people…..Departments….Doctors “dont know the urgency”….they carry on - we MUST tell them, of the urgency…..aka Self Advocate!

I have read MANY stories in the Media…..of surgeries cancelled, of wait times for necessary tests and more…..and sometimes the follow up story is good; person received what they needed!

Make some Noise! Be heard !!

Whitelilies

Sassy53
5 Posts
I am so sorry to hear that
that is just not acceptable and something has to be done to help you and others in this terrible situation
Can you or your family contact the local news stations. They have done stories in the past and those people get helped.

I’m wishing you all the best and hope you are able to get the help you deserve ❤️🙏
Whitelilies
2447 Posts

@Marsha_K Hi (again) Marsha….

Please; reach Michele Brunoro ( breast cancer survivor…..works at CTV, in B.C.)


Advertisement

Michele Brunoro

Anchor / Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver

Vancouver

Contact

Michele Brunoro is an anchor, reporter and the Fraser Valley Bureau Chief for CTV News Vancouver.


Marsha_K
8 Posts

@Whitelilies thank you so much for your support, my family will try everything to help me. Our local BC agency will call me tomorrow or on Monday to make an appointment. If waiting time is too long, we will call everywhere.

Marsha_K
8 Posts

@Sassy53 thank you so much!

Sassy53
5 Posts

@Marsha_K:

@Sassy53 thank you so much!

You are most welcome. We all need to fight for each other

Michele Brunoro will get it done. She is amazing and this is right up her Alley❤️

DonnaL1959
33 Posts

@Marsha_K I was in for chemo today and 20-30% of the chairs were empty. I don't know if it's a staff shortage but I'll find out.

Sassy53
5 Posts

@DonnaL1959:

@Marsha_K I was in for chemo today and 20-30% of the chairs were empty. I don't know if it's a staff shortage but I'll find out.

It is a staffing shortage, which I have been told is due to the fact that BC is the only province that has not hired back their Nurses etc that they previously had fired during Covid

DonnaL1959
33 Posts

@Sassy53
I'm in Ontario - also a nurse shortage. There were only 2 nurses looking after 6-8 throughout the day. So sad. People postponing treatments as a result!

LittleDeb
13 Posts

@Marsha_K
Hi Marsha I am so sorry to hear your news I just finished chemo for breast cancer in Calgary..During Covid when MB hospitals were overloaded Alberta took Patients from other provinces..I dont know if they are still handling or if there were fees involved but you could contact your provincial health department to find out or look on the website for Alberta Health Services or on Tom Baker Cancer Clinic website here in Calgary If u get no results, contact your patient advocate nurse to help you Hoping to hear good news on your behalf..you have a lot of people that are here to chat with if you need help

Angiea
4 Posts

@Marsha_K My sister's friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed a second surgery, walked into Emergency in Vancouver. She did this on the advice of her health care team at the cancer clinic. They said that was the only way she could get timely surgery. She went, complained of head aches, was admitted, and had surgery shortly after. Although initially reluctant, she was glad she did it. I offer this as another option to consider. Think it is about time we gave up the myth of good quality and fair health care in Canada. This is cruel treatment and makes me ashamed of our health care system. Let's be clear this is not new - not a symptom of the pandemic. The chaos has been with us for a very long time - COVID-19 only made it worse.

Sassy53
5 Posts

@Angiea:

@Marsha_K My sister's friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed a second surgery, walked into Emergency in Vancouver. She did this on the advice of her health care team at the cancer clinic. They said that was the only way she could get timely surgery. She went, complained of head aches, was admitted, and had surgery shortly after. Although initially reluctant, she was glad she did it. I offer this as another option to consider. Think it is about time we gave up the myth of good quality and fair health care in Canada. This is cruel treatment and makes me ashamed of our health care system. Let's be clear this is not new - not a symptom of the pandemic. The chaos has been with us for a very long time - COVID-19 only made it worse.

This is very good advice, they have to treat you in Emergency

Nightowl
27 Posts

@Marsha_K Hi, I too am in BC. In 2019, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I went through two locations (at my own advocacy) before ending up at the Royal Inland Hospital Cancer Centre in Kamloops. They took me immediately; I saw an oncologist within two weeks and started chemo shortly thereafter. It wasn’t the closest option for me, but they were fabulous. Good luck in your search.

Marsha_K
8 Posts

@Nightowlsorry to hear that you are on this way( I would like to ask how was you referred to the Kamloops center? I am ready to drive to any location, however, my doctor sent my documents to Surrey branch, and they said it is the only option for me(

Hezz
117 Posts

@Marsha_K go to the media. Canadians need to know that our “free” healthcare is coming with a terrible cost.

Nightowl
27 Posts

@Marsha_K I had my lumpectomy done in Salmon Arm. My surgeon sent my documents to the Vernon Cancer Centre at my request. They bounced me back to the Shuswap Hospital in Salmon Arm; the oncologist’s office there called me to book an appointment for an initial treatment consult.

I was unwilling to do treatment at the local hospital; I wanted to go to a full - blown Cancer Centre with its attendant resources and teams. I phoned the Vernon Cancer Centre directly and they said I was not “in their area”. I explained I wanted to go to a Cancer Centre, and asked if I could be referred to the Kamloops Cancer Centre (the next closest one to me). They said yes, and they made the referral. The Kamloops Cancer Centre called me within two days to set up an initial consult with an oncologist there. My treatment in Kamloops (chemo) went from Dec. 2019 - May 2020. They were wonderful, kind and caring.

In the interior of BC you have to go to Kelowna for radiation - there are no other options. I was there in July and August of 2020. Again, it was a kind, caring group - and I learned how to do Nordic walking as part of a free program they offered there!

I don’t know if any of this helps; all to say that it is worthwhile advocating for what you want.



Sassy53
5 Posts

@Nightowl:

@Marsha_K I had my lumpectomy done in Salmon Arm. My surgeon sent my documents to the Vernon Cancer Centre at my request. They bounced me back to the Shuswap Hospital in Salmon Arm; the oncologist’s office there called me to book an appointment for an initial treatment consult.

I was unwilling to do treatment at the local hospital; I wanted to go to a full - blown Cancer Centre with its attendant resources and teams. I phoned the Vernon Cancer Centre directly and they said I was not “in their area”. I explained I wanted to go to a Cancer Centre, and asked if I could be referred to the Kamloops Cancer Centre (the next closest one to me). They said yes, and they made the referral. The Kamloops Cancer Centre called me within two days to set up an initial consult with an oncologist there. My treatment in Kamloops (chemo) went from Dec. 2019 - May 2020. They were wonderful, kind and caring.

In the interior of BC you have to go to Kelowna for radiation - there are no other options. I was there in July and August of 2020. Again, it was a kind, caring group - and I learned how to do Nordic walking as part of a free program they offered there!

I don’t know if any of this helps; all to say that it is worthwhile advocating for what you want.



This is excellent information thank you for this.

Marsha_K
8 Posts

@Nightowl thank you for sharing you experience, you were absolutely right choosing large center in Kamloops.

My son wants to find a second opinion in Princess Margaret centre in Toronto, and if they can accept me, he is ready to move there with me. Next week we are going to call everywhere.

Mammabear
312 Posts

@Marsha_K i am so sorry for your diagnosis. Pancreatic is very scary. I am in BC. When my cancer returned and my liver was failing I was admitted to start chemo. Monday we found it, Saturday I was having chemo in hospital. Report said I had “days” or there would be no treatment options. So I do think they prioritize base on severity. Oncologists also have specialty areas and you need a Pancreatic one. Your major centre is in Kelowna but if you tell them you will travel to any who can get you in sooner that may help. They also have tumour marker meetings to discuss cases and jointly determine the best protocol so even though you have one assigned you really have a team. It was the team that came up with my protocol because my liver could not handle the standard treatment.

here i am 3 years later. I am 58.

Hang in there. Make the calls. Be your own advocate. And fingers and toes crossed that you get into treatment quickly.

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