For two months, John Loncke has been receiving treatments for bladder cancer closer to home at Erie Shores HealthCare's new satellite cancer care program.
"To have the option to come to Erie Shores, which is 20 minutes from my home ... it saves me time. I can play golf in the morning and be here in the afternoon for my treatments," Loncke told reporters Wednesday in helping to open the new clinic.
He was diagnosed about three years ago, and has been receiving immunotherapy treatment for about two years. For each treatment he's been driving nearly an hour from his home in Kingsville to the cancer centre at Windsor Regional Hospital.
"Between travel time and treatment time, it would basically take me about half a day," he said.
Kristin Kennedy is the president and CEO of Erie Shores HealthCare. The hospital introduced a new cancer care satellite clinic on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. (Dale Molnar/CBC)
The oncology and outpatient care clinic is a satellite clinic of the Windsor Regional Hospital's cancer program.
Kristin Kennedy, CEO of Erie Shores HealthCare, said the clinic will be able to treat breast, lung, skin gastrointestinal and urinary cancers, and will see about five patients a day, four days a week.
"This is the first time cancer treatments will be available in Essex County and adds yet another service to our hospital in an effort to meet the growing demands of our communities," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the hospital will receive about $350,000 this year for the program and has added three full-time staff, as well as part-time and casual staff, to facilitate the clinic.
Patients will be treated at the clinic after an initial visit with the oncologists at Windsor Regional Hospital, and the clinic will primarily serve patients with stable treatments who aren't at risk for severe reactions.
The clinic has the benefit of freeing up more spots for treatment in Windsor for people in need there. And, Kennedy said, not having to travel as far for treatment is a morale booster for the patients they've seen so far.
"It's really important and it's our mission to provide care close to home and expand access for patients in our communities across Essex County," Kennedy said.