DESPITE the enormous challenges posed by COVID-19, BC Cancer wants their patients and their loved ones to know that cancer treatments continue in BC and their teams of physicians, nurses and other care providers across the province are here to treat them and support them along the way.
“Cancer journeys have not stopped and neither have we,” said Dr. Kim Nguyen Chi, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at BC Cancer, on Wednesday. “You may see changes in the way we work, but the why we work has not changed; we are here to support patients and provide the best patient-centered care we can. We are here for patients, every step of the way.”
In keeping with safety guidelines provided by BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Cancer has taken steps prevent risk of exposure to COVID-19 at all of their facilities: patients and staff are being assessed for symptoms upon arrival to the centres, they have implemented an enhanced cleaning regime in all of their public and clinical areas, and they have taken steps to reduce the number of people who need to come to the centres by mailing prescription medications to patients and conducting virtual health appointments.
Across the province approximately 800 visits per day take place virtually. This accounts for almost 70 per cent of all assessments performed by oncologists.
“We spoke with our oncologist Dr. Miller from our kitchen table,” said Donna and Rob. “We were a little nervous at first, but being able to see our doctor from the comfort of home put us at ease and gave us a sense of confidence. It was our first meeting with her and we needed that confidence more than ever. When we go into the centre for treatment we aren’t worried about our safety. We know we’re in good hands.”
Many cancer screening services for non-symptomatic people have been temporarily suspended to assist in efforts to minimize COVID-19 transmission and allow the health system to focus on urgent and emergent care. Anyone concerned about their breast, colon or cervical health should connect with a primary care provider.
BC Cancer provides approximately 36,000 oncologist consultations and 64,000 IV chemotherapy treatment visits annually across the province. BC Cancer operates six regional cancer centres, providing assessment and diagnostic services, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care.
· To learn more about BC Cancer and COVID-19, visit bccancer.bc.ca/covid19
· For patients experiencing anxiety, worry or stress BC Cancer patient and family counselling are available to speak to you over the phone. Visit the BC Cancer Patient and Family Counselling services web page.
· For more information about the temporary suspension of some screening services, visit: screeningbc.ca