KELOWNA - People living in the Interior 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.

"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."

Until now, cancer patients living in Kelowna and surrounding areas had to travel to the Lower Mainland to receive their cancer-related PET/CT scans. 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.

"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."

A PET/CT 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 patient͛s cancer tumours have shrunk, spread or returned.

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.

Quotes:

Sarah Roth, chief executive officer, BC Cancer Foundation-

"Today marks a significant milestone for families facing cancer in B.C.'s Interior communities. Thanks to our generous BC Cancer Foundation donors and investment from our government, BC Cancer has brought world-class diagnostics closer to home."

Benoit Morin, president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority-

"Provincial Health Services Authority is committed to providing British Columbians with the best in health care, no matter where they are in the province. The opening of this new PET/CT scanner in Kelowna will make a profound difference for cancer patients and their families. I'd like to thank the dedicated staff at BC Cancer, along with the provincial government and the BC Cancer Foundation donors, for making this a reality."

Susan Brown, president and chief executive officer, Interior Health-

"The new PET/CT scanner in Kelowna will be a game changer for patients in our region. It will support better care and shorter waits for people right here in the Interior by providing faster diagnostics, closer to home."

Jeremy King, cancer survivor-

"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. 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."

Quick Fact:

  • A PET/CT scan evaluates a body's organs and tissues at a molecular level and can identify abnormalities in cells. It can show whether a tumour has grown, shrunk or returned.

Learn More:

For a video of the new scanner, visit:
https://vimeo.com/solidrockvideo/review/447608658/fd630aeed1

For more information about BC Cancer - Kelowna, visit:
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/our-services/centres-clinics/bc-cancer%E2%80%93kelowna

To learn more about the PET/CT program, visit:
http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/our-services/services/pet-functional-imaging#GeneralPET--Scan--Information

Contacts:

Ministry of Health Communications
250 952-1887 (media line)

Provincial Health Services Authority Communications
778 867-7472 (media line)