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Camapign for Victoria cancer scanner more than half-way there

BC Cancer Foundation effort for an Island PET/CT scanner gets boost from Victoria Airport Travelodge
Victoria Airport Travelodge in Sidney has donated $10,000 to the BC Cancer Foundation’s campaign to raise $5 million for an Island-based PET/CT scanner that will help potential cancer patients get an earlier diagnosis. With $2 million left to go, the Foundation is hoping the Island will have its first such scanner in place by July, 2018. (Steven Heywood/News staff)

A campaign to bring Vancouver Island its first PET/CT scanner for early cancer diagnosis is more than half-way complete — but there’s still in excess of $2 million left to go.

The effort by the BC Cancer Foundation on the Island began in September of 2016, says Cynthia Durand-Smith, senior development officer with the Foundation. They set out to raise $5 million for the scanner — which would be the only one of its kind on the Island if the campaign is successful.

“There were 1,400 people in 2016 who had to leave the Island,” she said. “The scanner allows for earlier diagnosis of cancer and aids in the development of a patient’s treatment plan.”

Durand-Smith said the only other two PET/CT scanners are located on the mainland in Vancouver.

“It will get a key component in cancer care closer to home,” she said.

The scanner, once enough money is raised by the Foundation to purchase one, will be located at the BC Cancer Agency, which is near Victoria’s Jubilee Hospital. A new scanner in Victoria will mean fewer oncologists and patients having to make difficult decisions about their cancer care, and give greater access to this critical service, according to the Foundation.

This week, the ownership group of the Victoria Airport Travelodge in Sidney through its support behind the campaign with a $10,000 donation. Travelodge General Manager Nick Coates said the owners of the hotel, Charles Dickens Pub and Dickens beer and wine store all live and work on the Island and, like many people, have had friends or family touched by cancer.

“It’s an opportunity to give back to the local community,” Coates added, “to aid the Foundation in taking care of people’s health.”

A PET/CT is proven as one of the most useful tools for obtaining a complete picture of a patient’s cancer, with an ability to detect cancer cells at an early stage – even before the cells start forming a mass or tumour. Its use has become standard practice across the entire spectrum of cancer care – from diagnosis to treatment planning, to evaluating the effectiveness of treatment and assessing if cancer has spread or returned.

To learn more about the campaign and to donate, visit