The business plan for a cancer centre in Kamloops has been approved, bringing it one step closer to completion.
Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the update on Thursday (Feb. 8), saying they are now headed into the procurement phase and expect construction to begin in 2025.
The centre is set to be up and running by 2028, a one-year delay on the province’s original timeline.
The Kamloops cancer care centre will be located at the Royal Inland Hospital campus and will provide radiation treatment to an estimated 1,000 patients a year. It will offer care in addition to a community oncology clinic that already exists there.
Dix said Thursday the project’s total cost is estimated at $359 million, funded by the province, Interior Health and Thompson Regional Hospital District.
Included in the proposed five-storey centre are three radiation treatment rooms equipped with high-energy radiation treatment linear accelerators, one CT simulator, one MRI scanner, and an outpatient oncology ambulatory care unit with 10 exam rooms. It will further be accompanied by a 470-stall parkade.
The Kamloops addition is one of four cancer care centres the province has promised to deliver as part of its 10-year cancer care plan. Other centres are set to open in Nanaimo, Burnaby and Surrey. Those will join the six centres that already exist in B.C.
The expansion is in response to an expected surge in the number of people being diagnosed with cancer in coming years. In B.C., 30,000 people are expected to be diagnosed this year, while 44,000 people are expected to be diagnosed in 2035, according to Dix.
He emphasized on Thursday the importance of bringing cancer care closer to people, so they don’t have to travel to other areas of the province or to Bellingham, Washington, where the government has a temporary agreement to cover radiation treatment for B.C. residents.
Dix also recognized the need to greatly increase the number of healthcare workers to support the new centres being built.