07/18/2012 10:53 EDT | Updated 09/17/2012 05:12 EDT

Pilot Project Reduces Cancer Care Wait


A pilot project that aims to diagnose cancer sooner may already be saving lives, its organizers say.

Figures provided by the Lung Cancer Navigation Centre at the Montreal General Hospital show patients are getting diagnosed two weeks earlier than they would have before.

The centre is headed by David Mulder, physician for the Montreal Canadiens, and funded in part by billionaire investor Stephen Jarislowsky.

Andréanne Saucier, associate nursing director for cancer and respiratory care, said it's not expensive machines that make the centre work better, but people working efficiently.

"It's not a big operation," Saucier told CBC News. "It's just a matter of trying to set your goal, what you're trying to achieve and make it easier."

Dr. Jonathan Wan said regular meetings between doctors mean patients get the correct care quickly.

"Once a week we meet here and we have all the specialists in lung cancer care meeting at the same time," Wan said, adding saving time is a key factor in treating an aggressive disease such as lung cancer.

"We believe that this reduction in delays may save their lives," he said.

Staff at the centre said the extra cost of the system amounts toy an extra couple of salaries.