B.C. announces $20M in funding to help cancer patients travel for treatment

New funding from the B.C. government will help cancer patients and their caregivers travel to receive treatment.  (Shutterstock - image credit)
New funding from the B.C. government will help cancer patients and their caregivers travel to receive treatment. (Shutterstock - image credit)

B.C.'s health minister says the province is giving $20 million to two charities to help cancer patients travel to receive care.

Adrian Dix announced Wednesday that the funding will be split equally between the Canadian Cancer Society and Hope Air, and will help the organizations expand programs supporting people who need to receive treatment outside of their home communities.

"When people who are diagnosed with cancer must travel great distance by sea, land or sky to receive treatment, they deserve support every step of the way," Dix said.

The money is meant to help patients and caregivers from across the province travel to B.C. Cancer centres in Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria, or to reach one of 41 community oncology sites.

Some of the services being supported by the new funds include grants to cover travel expenses, volunteer driver programs, and accommodations and meals for patients and their families. The launch date for these expanded programs is Oct. 3.

The province says the two charities have developed a system where patients who need to fly are directed to Harbour Air, while those who need ground transportation are connected with the Canadian Cancer Society.