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BC Cancer Centre in Nanaimo Moves Forward

April 17, 2024

Found in Access,  Community,  News

“With over half of Vancouver Island’s population living north of the Malahat, the BC Cancer Centre in Nanaimo is pivotal for patients and their families in local communities,” remarked Sarah Roth, BC Cancer Foundation’s President & CEO at a press conference announcing the government’s business plan approval for the new centre.

New cancer diagnoses exceed 6,000 every year on the Island and the number is growing due to a growing and aging population. The new BC Cancer centre is essential to meeting this demand and to help overcome the region’s geographical challenges.

One of the most important offerings of the new BC Cancer centre will be radiation treatment. While some chemotherapy is available at community oncology sites, radiation requires highly-specialized facilities only available to BC Cancer centres.

Currently, the over 1,000 patients from the Nanaimo area in need of radiation each year travel to Victoria for treatment. For some patients that can mean daily radiation for up to eight weeks. It’s a long journey, often complicated by wildfires or extreme weather.

Qualicum Beach’s Joanne Falvai knows this all too well after facing brain cancer in 2020. Having driven a friend to their appointments prior to her diagnosis, Joanne hoped to make the commute for her own radiation treatment.

It quickly became apparent that this would not be physically or psychologically possible. Instead, her husband and three young boys temporarily relocated to Victoria. An expensive, difficult process she says was only possible thanks to an outpouring of support from her community.

“It was really hard being away from our family, our home, all of our people. Cancer can take so much from you. You and your family need all of the love and support you can get so you can focus on your health and what you face every day,” shared Joanne.

In addition to radiation, the new centre will house a PET/CT diagnostic scanner, a CT simulator, an oncology ambulatory care unit, consult rooms and space for medical physicists and radiation therapists.

As with each of the four new BC Cancer centres under development across the province, BC Cancer Foundation donors will play an essential part in equipping the centre with critical, cutting-edge technologies, essential to enhancing care.

Mid Island Co-op has pledged to match up to $1 million in donations to the new BC Cancer centre in Nanaimo. Donate today to double your impact.