For Donald Erickson, having oral cancer care closer to home would help alleviate some of the strain in what is already an extremely stressful situation for him and his family.
Since his stage II multiple cell myeloma diagnosis in 2018 (his second cancer diagnosis in eight years), the Chilliwack resident has been trekking to Surrey for all of his dental appointments and dental work that arose as a result of his cancer.
“It was stressful, first being diagnosed with cancer, then the very unpleasant surprise that it would impact my teeth,” Erickson said.
Many people undergoing treatment for cancer often experience dental problems that must be addressed by an oral oncology expert.
Currently, all cancer patients between Abbotsford and Hope with a need for specialized dental care must travel to other BC Cancer locations to receive this essential service.
To help provide a higher quality of care closer to home for patients across the Fraser Valley, the BC Cancer Foundation is fundraising to build a two-chair dental clinic at BC Cancer – Abbotsford.
The cost is estimated to be approximately $660,000.
Through the clinic, oral cancer care will be integrated into patients’ overall care plans, through collaboration with radiation and medical oncologists and other members of the health care team.
Erickson believes having the dental clinic closer to home will help other families in a similar situation.
“It would have been much less of an ordeal if I could have made the 20-minute drive to Abbotsford, which I am familiar and comfortable with because of my regular visits to treat my cancer,” he said.
“Anything to keep cancer patients close to home, reduce stress and the difficulties surrounding treatments helps us – and our families – heal better and faster.”
Visit bccancerfoundation.com/dentalsuite for more information on how to support the Abbotsford dental clinic.