VANCOUVER, B.C. – The BC Cancer Foundation has completed a fundraising campaign with $1.75 million to support a lung cancer screening program at BC Cancer. Officially announced by the Ministry of Health today, the program is on its way and will mark the first-ever lung cancer screening program in the country.
Funding for the lung cancer screening program is vital, as more than 3,300 people in B.C. will be diagnosed this year alone, and only 1,290 will survive.
“Even in the face of a pandemic, our donors have stepped up to support an urgent cause that takes far too many lives,” says Sarah Roth, president and CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. “Donors and supporters have driven innovation and research, and today, have helped make Canadian history as our Government of BC launches the first life-saving lung cancer screening program."
Kelowna residents Shannon and Clayton Gall raised an incredible $1 million for the program by rallying a group of their fellow PH&N colleagues. Shannon is a lung cancer patient receiving treatment at BC Cancer – Kelowna who is living life to the fullest because of an innovative therapy found through state-of-the-art genetic sequencing. Another generous $300,000 was donated by Micah 6:8 Foundation.
Each year, lung cancer kills as many British Columbians as breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined. Six people die of lung cancer in B.C. each day. Too many patients are diagnosed too late.
Funds raised through major donations from across the province and at last Friday’s 2020 Hope from Home presented by RBC will help save lives and change patient outcomes.
Patients like Sylvia Chen, who is facing early stage lung cancer. Sylvia was shocked to learn she had developed lung cancer having never smoked a day in her life. After experiencing a chronic cough, she was sent for a CT scan, revealing abnormalities in her right lung were, in fact, lung cancer. In 2019, a second CT showed a larger mass had grown. Sylvia was able to have surgery to remove one third of her lung and has not required any further treatment.
She recently received the news she is cancer-free and in 10 months, her right lung has regenerated to 97 per cent of its original size.
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the difference that is made when the community comes together and I invite others to join this life-saving cause,” says Sylvia. “I am lucky my cancer was caught early, and it is my hope that this will be the case for others, with a new lung cancer screening program at BC Cancer. My deepest thanks to Jason Ko, Dr. John Yee and Dr. Stephen Lam.”
To recognize the care she has received, Sylvia has donated a generous $100,000 to support the lung cancer screening program, which will help diagnose lung cancers earlier, identify patients for curative treatment, decrease symptoms and reduce lung cancer mortality by up to 20 per cent.
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