People living in the Kootenay Boundary will now have closer-to-home access to specialized cancer care services with a new, state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at BC Cancer – Kelowna.
Until now, cancer patients living in the Interior had to travel to the Lower Mainland or other faraway cities to receive their cancer-related PET/CT scans.
“The new PET/CT scanner in Kelowna will be a game changer for patients in our region,” said Susan Brown, president and chief executive officer, Interior Health.
“It will support better care and shorter waits for people right here in the Interior by providing faster diagnostics, closer to home.”
A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner is a critical component of enhanced cancer care.
It delivers precise images of abnormal or cancerous cells.
These images can help physicians diagnose cancer at an early stage or evaluate the effectiveness of treatments by determining if a patient’s cancer tumours have shrunk, spread or returned.
“Having to travel for my PET/CT scan meant that I had to deal with the logistical challenges of organizing child care and transportation, which for me meant driving the Coquihalla Highway, which can be dangerous especially in the winter,” said cancer survivor Jeremy King in the Aug. 19 news release.
“I’m grateful for my friends and family who provided a lot of support at that time. I’m thankful now that people who need a PET/CT scan won’t have to deal with these added worries and can focus on their health.”
In 2019-20, BC Cancer – Vancouver conducted 1,151 scans on people who travelled from the Interior Health Authority area.
Once fully operational, the new PET/CT scanner is expected to provide more than 2,000 scans per year.
(A CT scan, or computed tomography scan, is a medical imaging procedure that uses computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional or virtual “slices” of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing the user to see inside the object without cutting.)
“Approximately half of British Columbians are expected to receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and timely, effective diagnostics are a critically important part of cancer care and treatment,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.“The expansion of BC Cancer’s provincial PET/CT program to include Kelowna means cancer patients in the Interior will receive better care services closer to home.”
The total project cost is $10.5 million, with more than $5.3 million provided by the BC Cancer Foundation with support from over 2,100 donors, and approximately $5.2 million provided by the Ministry of Health through the Provincial Health Services Authority.
“PET/CT imaging is a very sensitive and specific scanning method to detect cancer. More and more, PET scanning is quickly becoming an important and critical tool to diagnose, stage and assess treatment response for a number of different cancers,” said Dr. Kim Chi, vice-president and chief medical officer, BC Cancer.
“This enables us, as oncologists, to best design and personalize a treatment plan for our patients. Thus, timely access to PET scanning is required to enable high-quality cancer care.”