Waiting list growing for cancer patients

New Brunswick cancer patients may soon have to go to the United States to get radiation treatment. The head of oncology at the Saint John Regional Hospital says his department can't deal with the growing waiting list.

The hospital is short four radiologists and another is leaving next month for Nova Scotia.

Eighty-five people are currently waiting for radiation treatment. Thirteen of them have been waiting for more than two months.

Dr. Eshwar Kumar, head of the oncology department at the hospital, says the radiologists' workload is overwhelming. He says they are paid significantly less than they would be anywhere else in the country.

There should be 10 radiation therapists at the hospital in Saint John. Soon, they'll be down to only half that.

Dr. Kumar says many of his patients can't wait any longer. He says he is exploring the possibility of sending them to the United States for treatment.

But Kumar says the real solution would be to pay the therapists a competitive wage. He says he is hoping to meet with the minister of health to voice his concerns.