Cancer is still one of the big killers in our society. Statistics from Cancer.CA tell us thousands of people will be diagnosed and die from cancer in 2020.
There will be an estimated 225,800 new cancer cases and 83,300 cancer deaths in Canada in 2020. (The number of estimated new cases does not include non-melanoma skin cancer cases.)
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 30% of all deaths.
We need to ensure we are doing the rights thing to help bring those number down. With this in mind, British Columbia is launching a first in Canada with a Lung Cancer Screening program.
From John Horgan:
“At a time when we are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that many families around the province are grappling with a cancer diagnosis. Cancer doesn’t wait for global pandemics, and we know that early detection can save lives. Our new lung cancer screening program will mean more treatment options, faster recovery, and better outcomes for people around the province. It’s part of our work to keep people safe and healthy – no matter what they’re dealing with.”
The target population for this new cancer screening program will be adults aged 55 to 74 who smoke or have a heavy smoking history. It’s expected the first participants could be receiving scans by spring 2022.
“In 2020, an estimated 3,300 people in B.C. will be diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Through early detection with this new lung cancer screening program, we will see survival rates dramatically improve. Similar to our other cancer screening programs, British Columbia is leading the way. We are proud to be the first province in Canada to establish a lung cancer screening program.”
It is anticipated approximately 300 people will be diagnosed each year through the program. They will be diagnosed earlier, giving them more treatment options.
“This is a truly important day for British Columbians,” said Dr. Kim Chi, vice-president and chief medical officer, BC Cancer. “Our clinicians and scientists have been working for years to get to this point, which is being made possible by the leadership and investment from the government of British Columbia and our valued funding partners, the BC Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.”
This lung cancer screening program supports other recent actions the government has taken to invest in early cancer diagnosis and treatment, including the addition of regional cancer centres at the second Surrey Hospital and Burnaby Hospital, and the expansion and investment in BC Cancer centres throughout the province with new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanners in Kelowna and Victoria.
British Columbia was also one of the first jurisdictions to create a cervical and breast cancer screening program.
Benoit Morin, president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) –
“More people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. With the new lung cancer screening program, we will have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of British Columbians, thanks to early detection and intervention. This program is an excellent example of what’s possible through meaningful, focused partnership. To that end, PHSA and BC Cancer are grateful for the support of Premier Horgan and Minister Dix, the BC Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer.”
Sarah Roth, president and chief executive officer, BC Cancer Foundation –
“We are here to change outcomes for people who face cancer. Donors have driven innovation and research into lung cancer screening at BC Cancer for the past decade. Today, thanks to generous individuals across B.C., we raised $1.75 million for vital equipment and startup costs. We are proud to be a part of Canadian history, as the Government of B.C. launches the first life-saving lung cancer screening program.”
Cynthia Morton, chief executive officer, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer –
“I congratulate British Columbia’s Premier Health Minister and the BC Cancer team for leading the way in committing to organized lung cancer screening. The partnership is proud to be part of this work, and we know that more provinces and territories will follow in the months ahead. This is groundbreaking news for all people living in Canada. Lung cancer kills more people than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined in Canada because it is often detected at a later stage. We can change this with organized screening programs for people at high risk of developing the disease. Implementing lung cancer screening programs is a priority in the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control. The partnership acts as the steward of the strategy and works with partners to embrace proven, life-saving new approaches to detecting and treating cancer at the earliest stage possible. We will continue to work with our partners in all provinces and territories to see lung cancer screening programs available for people at high risk of the disease.”
Listen to the Press Conference: