Cancer patients across Vancouver Island now have the option of staying closer to home for cancer diagnostics.
The BC Cancer Centre at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital unveiled the new Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite on Monday, with anticipation of providing more than 2,200 scans per year.
“Last year, more than 1,900 Island residents had to travel to Vancouver to receive their scans,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Opening this new PET/CT suite in Victoria means patients living in the region now have access to highly effective diagnostic imaging that will help to improve the cancer services people count on.”
PET scans use nuclear medicine to target specific molecules on cancer cells.
“This allows us to see where the cancer is much more sensitively,” explained Dr. Kim Nguyen Chi, vice president and chief medical officer of BC Cancer. “On a CT scanner we’re just looking at the size of the lesion; with the PET scan we can just look at the metabolic activity, and whether it has specific cancer markers on it… so we can see cancers we would not regularly be able to detect.”
This is the first on the Island— previously cancer patients would need to go to Vancouver for a PET/CT scan pic.twitter.com/xXqZVntSEM
— Nicole Crescenzi (@NicoleCrescenzi) July 22, 2019
The $6.5 million project saw $5.3 million from the BC Cancer Foundation, and $1.2 million from the province. The BC Cancer foundation funds came through community donors, including $2 million from former cancer patient Gordon Heys, who made the largest private donation to the Victoria branch. Thrifty Foods also donated $1 million to the cause.
“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 Premier John Horgan, who added that he himself had gone through treatment for bladder cancer 11 years ago. “I was fortunate enough to get early diagnosis, and I was fortunate to get early treatment.”
The Gordon Heys Family PET/CT Suite has been open for a week, scanning 14 patients so far.
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