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Cancer care in the Sault gets a boost, but will cause short-term challenges

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Cancer care in Sault Ste. Marie is getting an upgrade. The Sault Area Hospital will soon be installing new radiation treatment equipment.

While that’s good news, some patients will need to travel for treatment during installation.

The replacement of the equipment -- a linear accelerator -- has been a long time coming. Reaching 12 years of service, the radiation treatment unit is at the end of its lifespan under the current mandate by Cancer Care Ontario.

It comes at a cost of $2.5 million, covered by the province. Installation will begin Feb. 11 and will interrupt radiation services in the Sault for five months.

Patients in Algoma needing radiation will need to travel to Sudbury for their cancer care during that time.

"It is a complicated transfer of equipment because of the radiation that the equipment emits with every dose given to every patient,” said the hospital’s Sue Roger.

“There's work that will have to be done to upgrade the bunker, and then put the new equipment in, in order to protect the community for the future."

The new linear accelerator will expand the scope of care in the Sault. It will provide extremely precise and high doses of radiation to new areas, including the spine and prostate. 

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