B.C. announces new $440 million, 10-year cancer care action plan 

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B.C. announces substantial investment in expanding cancer care
WATCH: The province has announced a massive investment into expanding cancer care in B.C. The plan is worth an initial investment of $440M to provide improved care for all patients throughout their journey. Richard Zussman has more. – Feb 24, 2023

A massive $440 million, 10-year investment into a new cancer action plan was announced by the B.C. government Friday.

“Nearly every British Columbian has been affected by cancer in some way, through their own diagnosis or that a family member or a friend,” B.C. Premier David Eby said.

“With this significant investment in cancer care, we can prevent and detect cancer earlier and improve access to treatment.

“This will help save lives and improve the quality of life of British Columbians, now and into the future.”

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.

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B.C. premier announces $440M in funding for cancer care
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The plan focuses on immediate actions to improve and strengthen cancer care in the province.

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According to a release, the plan will also include funding for people who have to travel from more rural or remote communities to receive cancer care.

The government also said it will build more cancer centres so that people do not have to travel as far.

Government officials said that the newly allocated funds will build $1 billion in investments made by the province since 2017.

Immediate actions the province 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
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“We’re investing in research, technology and innovation to strengthen cancer care in B.C. and deliver more innovative, evidence-based care for people when and where they need it,” said Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Minister of Health.”This action plan will help achieve a cancer-free future for more people, accelerate treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer and help thousands more survive their cancer diagnosis.”

The province identified four areas of current needs and access to cancer care for residents including:

  • Better prevention and detection
  • Improved treatment
  • More team care by optimizing partnerships
  • Stronger support and innovation worked into personal treatment plans

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.”

The province said in its focus to improve treatment, over the next three years it will modernize pediatric services, expand treatment hours to minimize wait times, connect people with palliative care more easily, and to establish a provincial CAR-T program (immunotherapy).

The plan has been made with recommendations from the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. report, officials said, and will be added to the $1 billion in investments made since 2017.

In 2021, more than 30,000 people in B.C. were diagnosed with cancer and more than 11,000 died because of cancer.

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