B.C. cancer action plan focuses on prevention, detection, treatment

B.C. is investing $440 million into a new 10-year cancer action plan, with promises to expand prevention, detection, and treatment, and improve care for British Columbians.

The province says initial funding will go toward expanding care teams and service hours, as well as making changes in an effort to attract oncologists and other professionals. The money is also earmarked to improve current cancer screening programs and support research.

“Nearly every British Columbian has been affected by cancer in some way, through their own diagnosis or that of a family member or friend,” said Premier David Eby.

The province says it will utilize the notification and booking system that was started for COVID-19 vaccines to alert people when regular screening is suggested for their age.

Related articles: 

Meanwhile, Indigenous and remote care is also identified as a priority. The province says the funding will help increase Indigenous patient support positions, and also support people who need to travel from rural and remote locations for care.

The $440 million investment is on top of $1 billion previously made, since 2017. The money will be allocated in parts; $270 million over three years, and $170 million in one-time funding to the BC Cancer Foundation, the fundraising partner of BC Cancer, to support research and attract specialists.

BC Cancer’s annual budget of $971 million.

Eby says the goal of injecting the additional cash to the annual base BC Cancer budget is simple.

“It’s about treating cancer within those clinical benchmark times, it’s about supporting people living with cancer, and ultimately about responding to the demand that we’re seeing in the system,” the premier said.

Dr. Kim Chi, the head of BC Cancer, says the goal is for 90 per cent of people to see an oncologist within four weeks of being referred.

“And 90 per cent of people receiving their chemotherapy within two weeks of being ready to treat, or 90 per cent of people receiving radiation within four weeks of their time to ready-to-treat,” he explained.

The B.C. government says its new action plan “aligns with recommendations made” in a report that looked into Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in the province’s healthcare system.

Over the next 36 months, the province says some of its priority areas will include:

  • Modernize pediatric cancer services
  • Expanded treatment hours for people and shorter wait times for surgery
  • Better connect people to palliative care
  • Establish a provincial CAR-T program (immunotherapy)
  • Enhanced community oncology networks
  • Shorter wait times for people through expanded multi-disciplinary cancer care
  • Better access to clinical trial programs to help people access new and emerging treatments
  • More Indigenous patient navigators for culturally safe and equitable care
  • New lifesaving equipment throughout B.C.
  • Additional cancer centers
  • Stronger recruitment and retention strategies


According to figures released by the province, there were more than 30,000 people in B.C. who were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021. That same year, more than 11,000 British Columbians died because of cancer.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the new action plan and accompanying funding will “accelerate treatment for patients diagnosed with cancer and help thousands more survive their cancer diagnosis.”

The province says a multi-year cancer care plan is needed amid an “aging and growing population” in a “system that is stretched” and often difficult to navigate for many patients.

It adds that one in two British Columbians will face a cancer diagnosis at some point in their lives.

“It is unacceptable to be in a situation in our province where someone is waiting for a screening or waiting for treatment to the point that it’s compromising their cancer care,” Eby said.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated to clarify that $170 million is being allocated to the BC Cancer Foundation to support research and attract specialists.  

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today