Faster and more advanced treatment for Cape Breton cancer patients was announced Friday.

Premier Rodney MacDonald broke the news of greater access to radiation therapy services with the expansion of the Cape Breton Cancer Centre and a new CT simulator for the facility.

“This investment in the Cape Breton Cancer Centre will ensure that we are able to meet Canada’s first wait-time guarantee,” MacDonald said at a packed press conference at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney.

Under the guarantee, effective March 2010, cancer patients in Nova Scotia who need radiation therapy must get treatment within eight weeks of being ready to treat.

“We will go beyond the national standards to ensure we provide the very best in care,” MacDonald said. “Today’s investment is part of meeting those goals.”

John Malcom, CEO of the Cape Breton District Health Authority, said the improvements will help the centre maintain its record for fast access to treatment.

“If we didn’t replace this equipment our wait times would grow and we wouldn’t be the top ranked cancer centre in Canada by patients,” he said.

The new CT simulator is a key component of the expansion. It will reduce the amount of time patients spend in diagnosis and allows for more accurate radiation therapy treatment.

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