Cancer affects people of all ages

Members of the compassionate oncology nursing team at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. David Knutson, Chair, Board of Directors, Health Sciences Foundation remarked, “The exceptional care provided by oncology nurses at Regional Cancer Care Northwest truly inspires patients and family members to give back. Please join me in thanking them.”

THUNDER BAY – Health – Cancer affects people of all ages, gender, and nationalities – one in two North Americans will be affected by cancer at some point in their lifetimes. In 2013, Canada will continue to see an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer. In the time it takes you to read this article, at least one Canadian will be diagnosed with cancer.

In Northwestern Ontario our oncology nurses play a vital role in caring for patients throughout the cancer journey – in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and palliation. In 2004, the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology/Association canadienne des infirmières en oncologie (CANO/ACIO) launched Oncology Nursing Day as part of Cancer Month. This year, on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, Oncology Nursing Day celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Lifetime Risks 1 in 9 women will develop of breast cancer. 1 in 15 women will develop of colorectal cancer. 1 in 16 women will develop lung cancer. 1 in 7 men will develop prostate cancer. 1 in 11 men will develop lung cancer. 1 in 14 men will develop colorectal cancer. 1 in 4 Canadians are expected to die from cancer.

“Oncology nursing is a rapidly changing and challenging field,” says Regional Cancer Care Northwest Program Director Joanne Lacourciere. “Cancer is a very complex disease encompassing over 200 distinct types of cancer. And every person’s cancer behaves differently. We’re fortunate that here in the Northwest our nurses are so incredibly dedicated to their profession.”

Oncology nurses deal with increasing patient populations, new treatments, shrinking resources, shifting models of care, and scientific discoveries emerging faster than can be translated to practice. But oncology nurses do more than provide exceptional care for patients; they develop close relationships with cancer patients and their families and offer words of guidance, hope and support.”

“I find oncology nursing to be very rewarding. We have the opportunity to really know our patients and their caregivers. Oncology nurses passionately teach, guide, share, comfort, and laugh with our patients, through the good and the bad times. It is truly an honour to play an integral role throughout their cancer journey,” says Karen Melenchuk, RN, Regional Cancer Care Northwest, TBRHSC.

If you have to be part of cancer journey it’s good to know that Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario’s oncology nurses are dedicated to providing the best healthcare practices for their patients: 100% of our nurses are certified in chemotherapy administration and 80% of our oncology nurses have chosen to validate their expertise by writing the national Oncology Nursing Certification exam. In fact, several of our nurses hold two certifications – the CON(c) and the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care certification CHPCN(c). National certification distinguishes oncology nurses and is an excellent indication to patients and their families that nurses are qualified, competent, and current in a specialized area of nursing practice.

“Our oncology nurses throughout the Northwest provide a much-needed leadership role in planning and providing excellent care to our patients and families,” says Bev Gellert, Manager, Clinical Oncology Nursing Services. “Oncology and Hospice Palliative Care certification enhances the specialized skills and knowledge that oncology nurses require to meet the unique needs of cancer patients and their families. Achieving certification in these areas requires significant personal investment and many hours of study. I am very proud of the commitment and dedication of our oncology nursing staff.”

With this year’s theme: “Oncology Nurses: Inspiring Change”, CANO/ACIO aims to show the power of oncology nurses to reach out to each other as well as to help vulnerable patients and families.

“Donations to the Northern Cancer Fund are a tribute to the outstanding efforts of cancer care providers,” says David Knutson, Chair of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation Board of Directors. “The exceptional care provided by oncology nurses at Regional Cancer Care Northwest truly inspires patients and family members to give back.”

Canadian oncology nurses are heralded worldwide as cancer care leaders, delivering care that other countries aim to emulate. They are efficient navigators through the cancer path and a warm, solid presence on the journey. Thank them today.

If you’d like to recognize the exceptional care provided by our oncology nurses, please consider making a donation to the Northern Cancer Fund.  Visit or call (807) 345-HOPE (4673).

Want to let others know how much nurses have made a difference to you and your family? Send a note with your gift, or leave a message on our Facebook page at  We’ll make sure each nurse knows how incredible they are!

Previous articleWilderness First Aid Training for Mining
Next articleLaw Day in Thunder Bay