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B.C. radiologists warn of possible 'tsunami of cancer cases' due to delayed medical imaging


A letter sent to B.C.'s health minister from a society of radiologists is warning the province could see a "tsunami of cancer cases" if a delay in medical imaging isn't addressed.

The letter, shared with CTV News Vancouver and dated Sept. 26, said "hundreds of thousands of patients" are waiting for medical imaging.

"We know that timely access to medical imaging saves lives and helps prevent disease progression," the letter from the B.C. Radiological Society to Adrian Dix said.

"Delays in medical imaging cause delays in diagnoses, specialist referrals, surgeries, medical treatments, cancer care and more."

The letter echoed concerns brought up in another message addressed to Dix last week, which estimated one million patients are waiting to see specialists in the province. 

"We see the decline in specialist care first hand every day and we are exhausted and demoralized; it is soul-destroying to be unable to provide the specialty care that B.C. patients need and deserve," that letter, signed by more than 200 specialist doctors, said.

B.C.'s Health Ministry acknowledged the letter sent by specialists last week and issued a statement.

"We want to reassure people that we will always meet with doctors when they have concerns or suggestions on how to improve services," a comment from a spokesperson sent to CTV News Vancouver said.

The statement went on to say that "all doctors, including specialists, have avenues to have their concerns addressed, through Doctors of BC who represent them in talks with government."

The society of radiologists urged Dix to address four key areas, including training more medical imaging technologists, upgrading equipment, and reducing wait times for breast imaging. It also expressed an urgent need for emergency funding for community imaging clinics, similar to funding announced for primary-care providers last month

"As with family physician clinics, CICs are experiencing rapidly increasing costs due to inflation. Several of these clinics are at risk of closing or reducing services due to increased costs," the letter said.

"If this were to occur, it would have a catastrophic impact on medical imaging wait times. All of those imaging studies would then fall to acute care facilities, which are already overwhelmed."

The B.C.'s Radiological Society it's "more than willing to collaborate with (the health minister) to develop specific solutions for remaining issues," but said work to address funding issues in CICs "needs to start now."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Penny Daflos.

The full text of the letter is embedded below. Top Stories

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