Nanaimo Cancer Centre one step closer

Posted on: April 17, 2024

People are one step closer to accessing enhanced cancer care services as a business plan for the new BC Cancer centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital (NRGH) has been approved.

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“The population in Nanaimo is growing rapidly and aging, and we’re taking a critical step to strengthen health services in the region so people get the health care they need closer to home,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our government is taking the next big step by approving the business plan for a cancer centre in Nanaimo. This state-of-the-art facility will benefit patients in Nanaimo and the surrounding region through the latest medical technology. This is part of the important work we’re doing to detect, prevent and treat cancer in B.C.”

The three-storey centre will be built next to the ambulatory care building. It will house a computed topography (CT) simulator, a PET/CT diagnostic scanner and an oncology ambulatory care unit with 12 exam rooms, four consultation rooms and space for medical physicists and radiation therapists. The lower level will contain four linear accelerator vaults, which are heavy concrete structures that contain radiation equipment used in the treatment of cancer patients.

The procurement process is underway, and construction is expected to begin in 2025 and be complete in 2028.

“We are so pleased that the business plan for the new BC Cancer centre at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital has been approved, " said Island Health Board Chair Leah Hollins. "The expansion of cancer care services at NRGH will enable Island Health and BC Cancer to provide greater access to cancer care, treatment and diagnostics closer to home for people living in central and north Vancouver Island communities."​

Other upgrades to NRGH have also been approved, including a new single-storey addition to the ambulatory care building that will be home to a new community oncology network clinic and expanded pharmacy.

The upgraded clinic will have 16 treatment bays, private consultation rooms, a medication room and support space. Cancer care delivered through the clinic will include oral and intravenous cancer treatment, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and hormonal therapy. The clinic also provides initial consultation and treatment planning with a medical oncologist, supportive care, followup care and patient education.

The pharmacy will be updated to current standards and feature more space. Construction work also includes 164 new parking spaces featuring a two-storey parkade next to the cancer centre as well as parking stalls in the north lot.

“We are excited to bring a new BC Cancer centre to Nanaimo. The new cancer centre will complement the existing services provided by BC Cancer – Victoria and reduce the burden of travel for people living in central and north Vancouver Island communities. We look forward to working in partnership with Island Health to expand cancer care in this rapidly growing region," said Tracy Irwin, chief operating officer, BC Cancer.

The project budget is approximately $289 million.

The new BC Cancer centre is a part of the 10-year B.C. Cancer Action Plan, which outlines actionable steps to better prevent, detect and treat cancers, delivering improved care for people facing cancer now, while preparing for the growing needs of the future.

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