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History of the Oncology Program at The Moncton Hospital

In 1947, the New Brunswick Department of Health opened a cancer diagnostic clinic at The Moncton Hospital in 1947, the same year the institution became a regional medical service centre, serving patients beyond the city centre.

In 1951, The Moncton Hospital was one of four hospitals in the province to partake in the Cancer Control Program, financed by the provincial Department of Health.

Two years later, the hospital - as it is today on MacBeath Avenue - officially opened on Aug. 21, 1953.

A Cancer Clinic was one of 16 Medical Service Departments at the hospital in 1965. The diagnostic clinic, under the Provincial Cancer Program, was responsible for the registration of all patients who may have cancer, and for the follow-up of all those who had undergone treatment.

In 1975, oncologist and hematologist Dr. Sheldon H. Rubin joined the staff at The Moncton Hospital. The following year, Dr. Rubin started a Chemotherapy Clinic, single-handedly serving all patients living in eastern New Brunswick.

The Woods-Gordon Report on Cancer Services in New Brunswick (October 1982) and the Tertiary Care Advisory Committee report that followed (January 1983), recommended a second radiooncology centre in New Brunswick be built in, or adjoining, The Moncton Hospital.

This recommendation was supported by hospital Board members and medical staff, and a presentation was made to the provincial Department of Health to this effect.

However, the government eventually decided to establish the unit at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre.

In the fall of 1987, a new Oncology Volunteer Program was introduced at The Moncton Hospital. The program, supported by a Terry Fox grant, saw volunteers specially trained to help cancer patients and provide support to their families.

In 1997, the Oncology Clinic moved to the sixth floor of the hospital. The treatment area had 15 chairs and two stretches in a confined area (only 8,550 square feet), which meant patients couldn't have family present during their treatment.

At that time, there were 6,675 patient visits annually. In the following five years, patient numbers almost doubled: by the end of 2011, the annual number of patient visits had increased to 11,281. The clinic now regularly sees more than 12,500 patient visits a year (12,700 in 2013-14).

The Moncton Hospital provides one of the most active Medical Oncology Services in New Brunswick. It's one of the largest referral centers for Oncology in the province, with more than 50 per cent of patients coming from outside the Moncton area. About 40 per cent of all surgeries performed at the hospital are cancer related.

A new $9.5 million Oncology Clinic held its grand opening in late 2014, and first welcomed patients in early 2015. Funding for the clinic came from a partnership between the Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation and the Province of New Brunswick.

The clinic provides care through an interdisciplinary team including: Oncologists, Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses; Clerks; Social Worker; Psychologist; Dietitian and Pharmacy Staff.

The new facility (17,200 square feet) offers 28 treatment stations and accommodates patients, family and staff in a safe, more efficient and confidential manner. Services include chemotherapy; education; transfusions; specimen collection; pharmacy services; clinical trials and medical and pharmacy education.

There are also 23 new parking spots dedicated for clinic patients adjacent to the new facility.

On June 10, 2016, Horizon Health Network and the provincial Department of Health announced the clinic would bear the name the Dr. Sheldon H. Rubin Oncology Clinic. 

For more information about the announcement on the naming of the Dr. Sheldon H. Rubin Oncology Clinic, click here.

For Dr. Rubin's biography, click here.

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