It took just one year and more than 2,100 donors to raise the $5 million needed to bring a world-class PET/CT scanner to the B.C. Interior.
The BC Cancer Foundation announced Wednesday that the critical tool in cancer diagnosis will be built in the next 18 months between the Kelowna General Hospital and the BC Cancer Kelowna building on Royal Avenue.
“It is going to be a beautiful facility with the scanner and a waiting room and exam rooms. This is a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool that tells the physicians where your cancer is,” explains Sarah Roth, president and CEO of the BC Cancer Foundation.
She says this technology will affect the more than 1,000 B.C. Interior patients who are currently forced to go the Lower Mainland – where the province’s only two publicly-funded PET/CT scanners are located – for a scan.
“Imagine you’re sick and you have to make that trip, stay overnight sometimes, sometimes you have to go back for a second scan, you’ve left your children at home. It is very disruptive for families,” adds Roth.
“Now that will be closer to home in your own regional cancer centre.”
PET/CT is proven in many circumstances as the most effective tool for obtaining a complete picture of a patient’s cancer, with an ability to detect cancer cells at an early stage – even before a tumour has formed.
Kelowna regional medical director for BC Cancer, Dr. Ross Halperin, says this scanner could be life or death for some his patients who are unable to make it the Lower Mainland for a scan.
“PET/CT technology enables us to make the more accurate diagnosis and provide the best treatment,” he says.
“A PET/CT scanner in the Interior means patients will benefit having access to crucial care much closer to home.”
He adds that this technology can save patients from unnecessary radiation treatment, chemotherapy, surgery and biopsies.
Kelowna couple Shane and Lisa Worman share a life together, share children and they also once had to share an oncologist. Shortly after Shane won his fight against cancer, his wife was diagnosed. She also battled it and won.
They are now both cancer survivors who call Kelowna home and felt they had to donate to this cause.
“Supporting cancer research and care is paramount to us,” says Shane. “Without it, Lisa and I wouldn’t be here today and we are proud to be to be able to help patients in our community have access to the best in cancer care right here in Kelowna.”
With one in two British Columbians being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, the purchase of the PET/CT scanners will ensure patients have access to the “gold standard in cancer imagining” and world-class cancer care.
“Thanks to thousands of generous donors, we are proud to say this vital technology will be closer to home for cancer patients across the Interior,” says Roth.
“We are so incredibly grateful to our supporters for helping to lessen the burden for families facing a cancer diagnosis.”
Constructions is set to being in the spring of 2019.
To learn more about PET/CT visit https://bccancerfoundation.com/PET-CT.
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