New breast cancer program adds support

Patients of the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior now have access to a new program to help with care co-ordination, education and support throughout their cancer journey.

Breast cancer patients being treated at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior now have access to a program to help them with care co-ordination, education and support throughout their cancer journey.

The Interior Breast Rapid Access Program for Investigation and Diagnosis (IB-RAPID) supports patients as they move through the stressful and often difficult process of getting tested, receiving results and waiting for treatment. The program is supported by the BC Cancer Foundation and generous donors from its Weekend to End Women’s Cancer fundraising event.

“Breast cancer care is very different now than it was when I started in oncology 27 years ago,” says Janet Bates, Breast Cancer Patient Navigator at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior.

“The care path has become complicated, and the patient – the health care consumer – wants to make the best decisions possible.

The cancer patient navigator role was motivated by the complexity of the health care system so that we could provide patients with the assessment, information and support tools to enable them to participate fully in the management of their care.”

IB-RAPID offers support to individuals diagnosed with breast cancer or who have a high suspicion of breast cancer based on abnormal results detected through mammogram, ultrasound or a physicians examination. IB-RAPID guides patients and their families through the process as early as possible, from the time suspicious breast changes are noticed and continuing through diagnosis and early treatment.

Services include: Access to health services as soon as possible; referral to specialized services and community resources; a specialized patient navigator to provide information and support as patients plan and manage their care; and breast cancer educational materials.

Patients with a diagnosis of breast cancer or changes to the breast that are suspicious for breast cancer can be referred to the program by their family physician or surgeon.

Referrals are accepted for patients living in Kelowna, the Kelowna to Winfield and Peachland areas and areas southeast to Grand Forks via Highway 33.

To learn more about IB-RAPID, contact 250-712-3992 or IB-RAPID@bccancer.bc.ca or visit www.bccancer.bc.ca/RS/CentrefortheSouthernInterior/Breast+Navigator

Please note this program does not offer routine breast screening (mammography).

For more information on screening, contact the Screening Mammography Clinic at 250-861-7560 or toll free at 1-800-663-9203.