• Cancer Care

Connecting Earlier: Improving Cancer Care for Island Patients One Step at a Time


The projected burden of cancer on Vancouver Island is expected to rise by 39% by 20301. In addition, because of improved cancer care, patients who are diagnosed with cancer are receiving more treatments and living longer.

BC Cancer (within the Provincial Health Services Authority) delivers cancer care in collaboration with regional health authorities and primary care providers. On Vancouver Island, patients who have a confirmed cancer diagnosis are referred to BC Cancer – Victoria by surgeons, primary care providers or emergency physicians. Although the target time from referral to a patient’s first appointment with an oncologist is less than four weeks, from a patient experience perspective, the waiting time for cancer care starts long before they meet with their oncologist and any waiting feels too long.

As part of a larger strategic initiative to improve the patient experience between cancer diagnosis and treatment, and to address known gaps and delays in patient care, BC Cancer – Victoria decided to use a structured improvement approach to implementing an interdisciplinary team-based model of care. In early 2020, oncology nurses were tasked with connecting with cancer patients in the days leading up to their initial oncologist appointments. Their goal was to reduce the time between patients’ referrals and first meetings with their oncologists, making it possible for patients and nurses to identify needed referrals, supports and information earlier.

Join us on January 20 to learn how this improvement project has impacted patient care on Vancouver Island. After the webinar, you will be able to:

  • Understand the complexity of the cancer care system and the projected future impact on Vancouver Island.
  • Reflect on the Journey Mapping in Cancer Care Maps, which were created following three journey mapping sessions with adult patients, families and health care providers led by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council in partnership with BC Cancer and the First Nations Health Authority.
  • Describe one improvement being implemented by BC Cancer – Victoria for all new cancer patients to improve patient experience and timeliness of care.


Cloe Vignola
Clinical Nurse Leader
BC Cancer – Victoria

Theressa Zapach
Senior Practice Lead, Nursing
BC Cancer – Victoria

Heather Nash
Coordinator, Regional Cancer Care
BC Cancer – Victoria

1BC Cancer. Cancer incidence projections by local health authority 2015 to 2030 [Internet]. [cited 2021 Jan 11]. Available from: http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/statistics-and-reports-site/Documents/LHA_incidence_2015_2030.pdf