B.C. woman pens letter to Adrian Dix after receiving ‘live-saving’ cancer treatment in U.S.

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman calls for better cancer care for all while fighting for her life'
B.C. woman calls for better cancer care for all while fighting for her life
watch: Kristen Logan says she's received an outpouring of support since Global News first brought you her story of having to move to the U.S. to get life-saving cancer care. Kylie Stanton reports she's now penned an open letter to B.C.'s health minister criticizing the health-care system – Nov 23, 2023

A B.C. woman has written an open letter to the Health Minister Adrian Dix, which is highly critical of the province’s health-care system.

Kristin Logan was spurred to write the letter, which can be read online, after she was diagnosed with cancer and received life-saving treatment in the U.S.

She said she first waited weeks after her diagnosis for treatment that never came. The Campbell River mother is battling Stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Logan was diagnosed back in September, about six months after she started reporting symptoms to her doctor.

She said doctors ordered chemotherapy for her, only for her to be told weeks later there was no record of her being referred for chemo.

As a dual citizen and U.S. Air Force veteran, Logan has been able to get treatment in Washington state for the past few months, something she believes has kept her alive.

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“I would not be having this conversation with you, I would not be here anymore without a doubt,” she said. “This cancer is lethal.”

She is calling for immediate changes to B.C.’s public health care system and its delivery of services.

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: Julie Nolin’s cancer journey'
Health Matters: Julie Nolin’s cancer journey

“Our healthcare system isn’t tripping over minor hurdles; it’s plummeting off a cliff. We’re not dealing with ‘occasional misses’; we’re grappling with a chronically diseased system where inefficiency and neglect have become the norm,” she wrote.

“I raised the alarm because I know that I am not the only one whose life has been endangered by systemic problems.”

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Logan also pointed to hospital and surgical wait times, the lack of family doctors, and delays to see specialists as critical failures by the government.

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“These are not just inconvenient delays; these are life-altering, sometimes life-ending delays that fly far beyond what doctors would consider a reasonable wait,” Logan said.

Logan said since she has gone public, she has been contacted by other British Columbians who have gone through similar circumstances.

Click to play video: 'Detecting cancer in dense breast tissue'
Detecting cancer in dense breast tissue

“I’ve been inundated with stories from B.C. residents whose lives have been upended by the very system that’s supposed to heal and protect them. Stories of pain, neglect, worsened outcomes and, sadly, unnecessary losses. These aren’t just anecdotes; they’re evidence of a system in crisis,” Logan said in her letter.

“We need a ministry that acts proactively by listening when experts sound the alarm about the system not being able to keep up with care.”

B.C. Premier David Eby responded to the letter Thursday, acknowledging B.C.’s cancer care system needs work.

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Eby said the province’s goal is to have the best care in Canada, if not the world.

“And we are not there. We have had to go to the United States and retain a private clinic to deliver cancer care to people, who shouldn’t have to do that, but we took that step to make sure people got care in a timely way,” he said.

Eby said Dix was heading up a “significant” initiative to restructure and reform the BC Cancer Agency, and to hire radiation technologists. He also pointed to work to open new cancer centres in Kamloops and Nanaimo, along with more funding for Hope Air for people who need to travel for cancer treatment.

“We know there is a lot more to do on cancer care. I am not satisfied with the results, but we will deliver that care for people,” he said.

Getting help in the United States has caused financial strain, prompting the Logan family to launch a GoFundMe campaign.

Click to play video: 'B.C. expanding funding for cancer treatment travel'
B.C. expanding funding for cancer treatment travel

Back in February, the B.C. government announced a massive $440 million, 10-year investment into a new cancer action plan.

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The plan focuses on immediate actions to improve and strengthen cancer care in the province.

Of the investment, $170 million will be going to the BC Cancer Foundation to support cancer research and attract skilled cancer-care providers to provide specialized treatment.

Immediate actions the province said it will take:

  • Expanding the publicly funded Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine program throughout B.C.
  • Investing in two additional PET/CT scanners for a total of four (two Lower Mainland, one Victoria, one Kelowna)
  • Investing $66 million to begin early implementation of team-based care and hire additional physicians, with a focus on recruiting oncologists, plus adding Indigenous patient support positions
  • Launching pilots for at-home HPV testing to screen for cervical cancer
  • Creating the Lung Cancer Screening program to improve screening access for high-risk people
  • 10-point Youth Vaping Provincial Action Plan

The government said in the next three years it will expand cervical, lung and hereditary cancer screenings. It will also improve vaccination initiatives to “eradicate cancers caused by HPV and expand home-screening tests for cervical cancer.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier announces $440M in funding for cancer care'
B.C. premier announces $440M in funding for cancer care

— with files from Catherine Urquhart and Simon Little


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