A third of Quebecers living with cancer need to travel for their treatment - The Jacques-Cantin Lodge is celebrating its 25th anniversary

25 April 2015

Montreal -

In the spring of 1990, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Jacques-Cantin Lodge welcomed its first guests. Now, 25 years later, this lodge, which is open seven days a week, receives more than 600 autonomous persons (patients and caregivers) from outside of Montreal as they come into the city for their cancer treatment.

In 2015, around 16,500 Quebecers living with cancer will have to travel for their treatment. In addition, half of all people living with cancer need to undergo radiation therapy. This treatment is given every day over a long period of time. In many areas in Quebec, this treatment is offered far away from home. The same applies to patients who need certain types of chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants or specialized surgery or need to participate in an experimental research protocol.

Cancer is often associated with stress and worries

It’s well known that cancer treatment can be an ordeal, both physically and psychologically. If, on top of this, patients must leave their homes, things will perhaps appear even worse to them.

“Put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t live in Montreal and must go there for treatment. Often, he or she doesn’t know the city very well and is probably staying there for so long for the first time. This person finds himself or herself in a busy and impersonal hospital. In addition to having to find an accommodation for the duration of their treatment, these men and women will often be alone in facing the pain and fear of cancer, far from their family and friends. They’re often going to be tired, and perhaps feel even sicker than before,” says Lisa Corbeil, counselling psychologist in the CCS’s psychosocial support team. “The Jacques-Cantin Lodge takes into account the needs of people living with cancer and their loved ones beyond cancer treatment. This service is part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s overall effort to enhance the quality of life of these people financially, socially and psychologically. Ultimately, the Jacques-Cantin Lodge contributes to reducing stress, even psychological distress.”

At the Jacques-Cantin Lodge, a team of volunteers and employees do everything they can around the clock, seven days a week, to make residents feel at home. Residents can also share their experience with other people facing the same situation, enjoy activities on the premises, go out on excursions and have people around them all the time.

“Given room, board and accompanied on a daily basis by attentive volunteers, our residents receive a lot of support and reassurance at a very small cost,” says Sébastien Lévesque, coordinator of the CCS’s Jacques-Cantin Lodge. “Studies show that the most common needs of people living cancer, which require a great deal of investment in time and money, are accommodation, transportation and parking. At the Jacques-Cantin Lodge, guests enjoy accommodation at nominal rates and are also driven by volunteers to their treatment centres, which saves them a lot of stress and planning.”

The Canadian Cancer Society and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux pay two-thirds of the cost to make the accommodation very affordable: people living with cancer are offered room and board for as little as $27 per day. An additional fee of $5 may be charged for transportation to treatment centres.

The Jacques-Cantin Lodge has 29 rooms and all that we’d want to find in a residence: a dining room, game room, library, relaxation lounge, exercise room, several television lounges and a home cinema. Special attention has been given to the needs of residents. The objective is to provide them with all the necessary comforts as well as the cozy feeling of home.

The Jacques-Cantin Lodge welcomes people from all over Quebec. Our residents are mostly from the Laurentians, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Laval/Lanaudière. The Jacques-Cantin Lodge also receives guests from Mauricie, Outaouais, Southwest Quebec and the Richelieu/Yamaska area. “It even offers accommodation to Montrealers who can’t commute between their home and the treatment centre where radiation therapy is given,” adds Sébastien Lévesque.

On its 15th anniversary, the CCS named its residence the Jacques-Cantin Lodge after the eminent surgical oncologist who had volunteered with the organization for 30 years and dedicated his life to the fight against cancer. Incidentally, he died from cancer.

The Jacques-Cantin Lodge in numbers (average of the last three years, from 2012 to 2014):
  • 29 rooms with a capacity to lodge 50 guests
  • More than 1,800 stays, from two days to several days totalling 10,200 days annually
  • The average stay of a resident is 19 days
  • 91,000 meals served
  • More than 9,700 trips to treatment centres
  • The clientele at the Jacques-Cantin Lodge consists of people living with various cancers (at least 40 types: breast, lung, colorectal and prostate cancer and lymphoma being the most common)

Every day, the Canadian Cancer Society works to save more lives. With the support of thousands of Quebecers, donors and volunteers, we fight to prevent more cancers, enable our researchers to make more discoveries and help more people touched by the disease. Let’s save more lives. Visit cancer.ca or call us at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444