Treatment and services

Cancer screening and diagnosis 

The CISSS de Laval’s cancer program is very active in the Ouvre un lien interne dans la fenêtre couranteQuébec Breast Cancer Screening Program. The CISSS de Laval has a full range of services and technologies, such as imaging exams and cutting-edge tests, to provide you with a fast and accurate diagnosis.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that your doctor will use to try and get rid of your cancer and improve your quality of life by decreasing symptoms.

These drugs are given either orally (through the mouth) or intravenously (through an IV). For some people, chemotherapy is the only possible cancer treatment. For others, chemotherapy is combined with other treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy.

The CICL has 30 chemotherapy treatment spaces. An interdisciplinary team of hematologist-oncologists, pharmacists and nurses work together to give you the best possible treatment for your needs. Throughout your course of chemotherapy, this team is here to decrease your side effects and meet your needs.

What to expect at your pre-chemotherapy visit

The day before your first chemotherapy session, you will have an appointment to see the hematologist-oncologist and have a blood test. This visit is to make sure you are physically and mentally ready to get your prescribed treatment. We suggest you bring a friend or family member who can help you remember all of the information that you’ll get during this visit. We will then analyze your blood test results and confirm the date of your chemotherapy session.

CICL staff will try to make sure that you aren’t kept waiting at your sessions. However, we thank you for your understanding if you experience delays.

Get enough medication

Before you leave the CICL after each visit, make sure you have enough medication until your next appointment. Talk to a staff member if you need to renew a prescription.

What to expect during your chemotherapy sessions

Chemotherapy sessions can last between 30 minutes and 8 hours depending on your treatment. The staff member who gives you the date for your next appointment will let you know how long your next session should last. We recommend that you wear comfortable clothing to each session. Please note that you can’t leave the chemotherapy room during your session.

One other person can stay with you during your treatment. Children aged 12 and under are not admitted in the chemotherapy room.

If your session is long and extends over the lunch hour, you can bring a lunch or ask your friend or family member to get you food from the cafeteria. You can also bring a personal music player or laptop. You must use headphones with any device that emits sound. Please note that the CICL does not provide wireless Internet access.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a common cancer treatment. It can be used alone or in combination with other cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or targeted therapies.

How radiation therapy is administered

Most radiation treatment is done externally. In this case, the radiation comes from a special machine that aims radiation at the part of the body with the cancer. Another type of radiation therapy is called “brachytherapy.” For this internal treatment, the radiation source is placed inside the diseased organ. The radiation destroys cells in the surrounding area by damaging their DNA so that they can’t divide and spread. These rays are invisible and don’t cause pain when they are applied. However, just like any other therapy, they may cause side effects.

Radiation oncology department

The radiation oncology department has many doctors (radiation oncologists), technologists, physicists, administrative officers, nurses, as well as many other health care professionals.

This cutting-edge department currently has:

  • Two treatment rooms with linear accelerators (machines that deliver radiation treatment). Two more treatment rooms will be opened in the coming year.

  • Two CT scanners (machines that take pictures inside the body) for treatment planning.

  • A brachytherapy room.

    The department’s radiation therapy equipment is closely supervised by a team of doctors who focus on safety. In addition to providing quality care, the department takes part in national and international clinical cancer studies.

Radiation treatment: What to expect

Below are the main steps involved in external radiation therapy:

  1. Initial consultation
    After your doctor makes a referral, you will meet a radiation oncologist to discuss your radiation therapy. Prior to this appointment, many patients will see a nurse. After your appointment with the doctor (and if you need radiation therapy), you will see a technologist who will explain your treatment. A friend or family member can come with you to these important appointments.
  2. CT planning scan
    This scan lets your doctor map the region to be treated. This helps spare healthy tissue as much as possible. This scan is not for diagnostic purposes. During the scan, restraint devices will help you keep still. You need to wear dark clothing, as the ink used to mark the area to treat may stain your clothing. On the day of your planning scan, you will see your doctor, who can answer your questions and give you more information about your treatment. You should expect this planning day to take 2 to 3 hours. Your treatment will then be given by a technologist, who can also answer all of your questions.
  3. Final planning
    The treatment room planning will be done about 3 to 10 days after your planning scan. Your radiation oncologist, technologist and physicist need this time to prepare your treatment plan. At the final planning appointment, the technologist will mark the areas for treatment (wear dark clothing). This appointment will take about 30 minutes. Your treatment will start the first business day after the final planning.
  4. Radiation treatment
    In the treatment room, you will see the technologist, who will give you specific instructions about your treatment. On average, radiation therapy treatments last about 20 minutes. Most of this time is spent getting you set up on the treatment table so that you are ready and correctly positioned for the radiation. During your treatments, you’ll also have appointments with your radiation oncologist, a nurse, or other professionals to ensure your treatment is going as planned and to manage any side effects you may have.

Surgical oncology

Surgery is another type of cancer treatment. The surgery team at the CISSS de Laval includes doctors, nurses and professionals who work together to provide you with quality care. They use state-of-the-art equipment to both plan their procedures and perform the surgeries.

Une infirmière aide un patient avant son traitement de chimiothérapie au Centre intégré de cancérologie de Laval situé à l'Hôpital de la Cité-de-la-Santé.