The H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Centre’s new advanced radiation treatment machine shows how far cancer care has progressed in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past three decades, says a local oncologist.
Dr. P.K. Ganguly, who retired in 2011 after 30 years of practice in St. John’s, told the Rotary Club of St. John’s weekly luncheon that the $5.8-million TrueBeam radiation machine — paid for with a combination of government funds, corporate contributions and fundraising, including $50,000 from the Rotary club — puts the province among the leaders in available cancer treatment, instead of lagging behind. It was never a question of available skilled doctors, he said, but a lack of facilities.
He credited former premier Danny Williams for supporting the cancer centre and providing the means to improve its level of treatment.
“Just raising the $5.8 million does not provide you the service that the machine is able to provide,” he said. “We need all the support services to provide the service we need.”
Dealing with the provincial department of health used to be much more frustrating, said Ganguly.
“Every time we’d ask for something new, ‘Has Halifax got it?’ If Halifax don’t have it, don’t talk about it. And if Halifax has it, ‘How long’ve they had it?’
“And then they’d listen. And we broke that completely,” he said.
Having advanced equipment will also help with retention, said Ganguly.
“We send (doctors) away and train them at the best institutions,” he said. “And when you train them in the best institutions and bring them back and give them nothing to work with, do you think they’re going to stay? Obviously not.”