I have Cancer, Now What?


Learning that you have cancer is a difficult experience; it can be very overwhelming and distressing. At the Lady Dunn Health Centre we want you and your family to know that you are not alone.

The Lady Dunn Health Centre and Wawa Family Health Team under the direction of the Algoma District Cancer Program  work together  as a team to provide you and your loved one with comprehensive cancer care and co-ordinated treatment.

Co-ordination of care is very important, working with the Algoma District Cancer Program; we have put together a process that will allow you to do your pre-screening treatment, post treatment symptom management and supportive care at the Lady Dunn Health Centre in Wawa, while receiving your chemotherapy treatment at the ADCP in Sault Ste. Marie.  An important part of this process is the use of telemedicine. By using telecommunications you will have a majority of your appointments with your oncologists here in Wawa.  Telemedicine allows you to access many other supportive programs available throughout your treatment.

Using a team approach, your family physician, nurse and oncologist  work together to deliver the best possible care to you after receiving  the diagnosis of cancer. At the LDHC your primary team will include your family physician or nurse practitioner, the OTN co-ordinator and myself, your oncology nurse. At the Algoma District Cancer Program, your team will include your oncologists and primary nurse specialist. At different times during your treatment you may be referred or have contact with other members of the team such as a dietician, social worker, laboratory technician or palliative care specialist, to name a few. Where do you fit in? Well, you and your family are very important members of your healthcare team. Your doctors and nurses know a lot about the type of cancer you have and the recommended treatment.  But, you are the expert when it comes to the knowledge of your personal health and your specific needs. We will deliver your care according to your goals.

My primary role as your oncology nurse here at the LDHC is to be a support system for you and your loved ones throughout the cancer journey – from your diagnosis and treatment to survivorship and/or end-of-life care. Other aspects of my role include providing you with information and educational materials on types of cancer, treatments, side effects and alternative treatments, co-ordinating your care within the team, assessing and managing symptoms of the disease or treatment  and providing direct care and treatments such as Central Venous Access Care, blood transfusions  or  symptom management therapy.

Living in Wawa, we can also include our community as part of our team. We have a great community that shows their support for our program in different ways. Recently the “Emergency Services of Wawa” decided to put on a charity hockey game with the proceeds going directly to our oncology patients. The funds were used to put together 8 “Chemo Care Kits”. These kits are packed with items such as a journal to record your thoughts, peppermint tea for stomach upset, a warm pair of slippers, lotion for dry skin and much more. The idea behind the kits is to fill them with supplies that may make this journey just a little easier on you.
If you or a loved one is facing cancer, remember that you are not alone. Your family doctor, nurse practitioner and oncology nurse are here to answer any questions, provide you with information and support you during this journey. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact myself, Louise Needham R.N. at 705-856-2335 ext. 3413.


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