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Town to seek support from other western N.S. municipal units for cancer radiation services in Yarmouth


Published on July 17, 2017

Yarmouth Regional Hospital.

©SHAWN BOURQUE PHOTO/COURTESY YARMOUTH HOSPITAL FOUNDATION

YARMOUTH, N.S. – The Town of Yarmouth will be sending letters to municipal units in western Nova Scotia from Kings County to Queens County seeking added support for having cancer radiation services located at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital.

A motion, brought forward by councillor Sandy Dennis, who has been battling cancer and had to spend weeks in Halifax to access radiation services, was approved at council’s July 13 meeting.

The motion reads: “That Mayor Mood send a letter to each council in the western region from Kings County to Queens County explaining the need for a Radiation Unit in Yarmouth to better serve the people of the region with treatment options closer to home and ask them to send a letter of support to the NS Health Authority.”

Councillor Dennis said it would greatly benefit cancer patients in western N.S. to be able to receive radiation treatment closer to home from a financial, physical and emotional standpoint, while also keeping them closer to their family and friends support networks.

Meanwhile, a grassroots Facebook group continues its efforts to raise attention to the issue. Having changed its name from the Yarmouth Cancer Support Network to the Western Nova Scotia Cancer Support Network, the group has over 16,700 members. Many people continue to share personal stories about how having cancer and having to access radiation in Halifax has impacted their lives. 

The group is circulating a petition that will be presented to the provincial government in September.

In addition to trying to see a linear accelerator (the machine that provides radiation treatment) housed at the regional health complex in Yarmouth, the group is pushing to have cancer medications taken orally covered by the province.

The Yarmouth Hospital Foundation says it welcomes the efforts of this grassroots movement. For years the foundation has been working behind the scenes on the radiation issue and says if the province were ever to approve a linear accelerator for Yarmouth it will launch a fundraising campaign to raise a portion of the cost. It has been said the unit could cost around $40 million to purchase and install.