Alberta Wait Times Reporting

Cancer Services

Cancer Services include prevention, screening, treatment, and palliative and supportive care.

Wait Times reported on this website include wait times for Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, and Diagnostic Imaging services related to cancer treatment programs.

What to expect after a cancer diagnosis - Alberta Health Services, Cancer Care, is responsible for treating patients with cancer. This provincial network of cancer professionals and facilities provide most cancer treatment except for surgery. If you are diagnosed with cancer, your family physician or surgeon may refer you to a cancer facility to discuss further treatment options. If you are referred, you will meet with a doctor specially trained to treat cancer. The two most common types of treatment given in the cancer facilities are chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy - is the use of drugs to slow the growth of cancer cells or destroy them. The drugs may be given by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle. Because these drugs can reach cancer cells in nearly every part of the body, chemotherapy is very effective treatment for many types of cancers.

Depending on the type of cancer and the chemotherapy drugs, there may be side effects with treatment. Patients and their families attend a special class to prepare them for the chemotherapy treatment experience and how to manage possible side effects. The class is taught by a chemotherapy treatment nurse who explains how the treatment works, what to expect during the treatment experience, and how to best manage each possible side effect.

Chemotherapy is available at all of the cancer facilities in Alberta.

Radiation Therapy - uses high doses of radiation to slow the growth of cancer cells or destroy them and stop them from spreading. Radiation may be used to treat the main cancer site, to reduce pain caused by cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, or both.

Radiation is available at; Edmonton, Cross Cancer Institute; Calgary, Tom Baker Cancer Centre; and Lethbridge, Lethbridge Associate Cancer Centre.

How long will it take to be treated?
The type of cancer you have and the type of treatment that is recommended for you are the major factors that will drive how long it takes for you to start treatment. Wait times can vary according to the number of recent patients referred with your particular cancer. Patients who have surgery often have a necessary period of healing which might delay further treatment. Click here, to view a table that shows the number of weeks it has taken patients over the past three months to receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy from the time they were referred to a cancer facility.

For information on MRI and CT Scan wait times related to treatment at the Cross Cancer Institute, click here.

Cancer centres are highlighted on this map.

Tertiary Cancer Centres - provide patient consultations, treatment, education, palliative care, supportive care, post-treatment care, and conduct research. Their highly trained doctors, nurses, and other staff provide patients in Alberta with access to leading edge services and information. Tertiary Centres provide chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biologic therapy, and radiation therapy. They also provide support, as needed, to physicians and staff at the Associate and Community Cancer Centres.

Associate Cancer Centres - provide patient consultations, treatment, education, supportive care, and post-treatment care. Some research is conducted at these sites as well but on a smaller scale than at the tertiary centres. Associate Cancer Centres provide chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy. The facility in Lethbridge also provides radiation therapy.

Community Cancer Centres - provide chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biologic therapy after a patient has been seen by a doctor in a tertiary facility and given a treatment plan. Some of these facilities also provide supportive care and/or post-treatment care, as available.

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Municipality Location TypeCentre
Grande PrairieAssociate Cancer CentresGrande Prairie Cancer Centre
LethbridgeAssociate Cancer CentresLethbridge Cancer Centre
Medicine HatAssociate Cancer CentresMedicine Hat Cancer Centre
Red DeerAssociate Cancer CentresCentral Alberta Cancer Centre