Foundations going in at cancer centre

Construction is progressing on an expanded Central Alberta Cancer Centre that will bring radiation therapy to the region for the first time.

Construction is progressing on an expanded Central Alberta Cancer Centre that will bring radiation therapy to the region for the first time.

Alberta Infrastructure spokesman Paul Michna said that construction crews are expected to be done foundational work by the end of September on the two-storey, $46-million Central Alberta Cancer Centre.

The 4,835-square-metre building is being built beside the existing cancer centre on the southwest side of Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. It has been designed so that three more floors can be added down the road.

“We’re looking at pouring concrete foundations and work is also being concentrated on the radiation treatment bunker to support the radiation therapy component,” said Michna on Tuesday.

Contractors will soon put up the very thick walls. Service tunnels will be built to transport medical gases, water, heating and the like between the new and existing cancer centres.

The exterior of the building will get underway sometime in late fall, said Michna.

Michna said the project is slated to be done in March 2013. The budget has not changed since excavation began late last December.

“It will triple the size of the current facility and it’s going to add radiation therapy to it,” said Michna.

The new cancer centre is expected to make a huge difference for those needing radiation treatment. Patients must now head to Edmonton or Calgary for radiation therapy.

Brenda Hubley, operations lead for the Radiation Therapy Corridor project with Alberta Health Services, said both chemotherapy and radiation therapy will be on hand at the new centre.

“We are building three radiation vaults and equipping two of those for opening,” said Hubley.

She said these two vaults will have high-energy linear accelerators.

According to the website RadiologyInfo.org, the linear accelerator is used to treat all parts and organs of the body. It delivers high-energy X-rays to the region of the patient’s tumour. These X-ray treatments can be designed in such a way that they destroy the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.

“We’re excited about it opening and being able to provide not only new, but expanded services to Central Albertans so they won’t have to travel for care,” said Hubley.

The cancer centre will also have greater services when it comes to supportive care, Hubley said.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com