Cancer patients and their loved ones will benefit from expanded access to care as B.C. launches a new action plan with immediate steps to better prevent, detect and treat cancers, delivering improved care for people now while preparing for the growing needs of the future.
“Nearly every British Columbian has been affected by cancer in some way, through their own diagnosis or that of a family member or friend,” said Premier David Eby. “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.”
An initial $440-million investment will expand cancer-care teams and service hours, introduce revised pay structures to ensure B.C. is attractive and competitive for oncologists and cancer-care professionals, improve cancer screening programs, support cancer research, increase Indigenous patient support positions, and support patients who must travel for care from rural communities.
“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, 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.”
To make access to cancer care more equitable for people living in rural and remote communities, this plan will include increased funding to support expenses related to travelling for cancer care. Also, more cancer centres will be added throughout the province to bring treatment closer to home for people.
“As a cancer survivor and a patient partner, I’ve seen first-hand the kindness, compassion and commitment to putting patients first that’s shared by all of BC Cancer’s dedicated health professionals,” said Penelope Hedges. “With these new investments and BC Cancer’s commitment to keeping patient voices at the forefront, there’s no limit to what we can do to change the lives of people with cancer in our province.”
Undertaking research and integrating findings is also critical for providing the best cancer care in B.C. The Province is providing a grant to the BC Cancer Foundation to support cancer research and attract highly skilled cancer-care providers.
The Ministry of Health has worked closely with BC Cancer to develop the plan. The commitment and expertise of BC Cancer, health authorities, physicians, nursing and allied health, public health and others who contribute to the cancer-care system are the cornerstones on which this plan is built.
The plan aligns with recommendations made in the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care report, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
The 10-year cancer-care action plan is supported by B.C.’s Health Human Resources Strategy, which supports patients by ensuring they get the health services they need and are cared for by a healthy workforce. This strategy focuses on 70 key actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers in B.C. while redesigning the health-care system to foster workplace satisfaction and innovation.
- In 2021, more than 30,000 people in B.C. were newly diagnosed with cancer and more than 11,000 died because of cancer.
- Since 2017, B.C. has committed more than $1 billion to support the creation of a strong and sustainable cancer-care system.
- The Province has eliminated the 4,000-person waiting list for the Hereditary Cancer Program, launched the Lung Screening Program and launched the first at-home human papillomavirus (HPV) cervix screening pilots.
- BC Cancer has recently hired more than 325 full-time equivalent positions, including physicians and clinical support staff, to implement a new team-based care model in all six regional cancer centres.
To read B.C.’s cancer care action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CancerPlan2023.pdf
To view the technical briefing presentation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Cancer_Action_Plan_PPT.pdf
To learn more about B.C.’s Health Human Resource strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0059-001464
Four backgrounders follow.