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Posted: August 31, 2020

PET/CT scanner for Interior cancer patients

People living in B.C.’s Interior now have what the Ministry of Health says is closer-to-home access to specialized cancer care services with a new, state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at BC Cancer in 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 patient’s 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.

“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,” stated Susan Brown, Interior Health president and chief executive officer.

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.

To learn more about the PET/CT program.

Lead image: BC Cancer Photo

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