British Columbia registered nurse shares health care response to cancer diagnosis
A British Columbia registered nurse says the province’s health system needs to implement major changes, hiring more staff and buying more equipment, after being left without a cancer treatment plan eight months after noticing a cancerous lump behind his ear.
« Things are getting to a point where changes have to happen, » Fayra Krueger said. “People’s lives are at stake. The government needs to step up its efforts to recruit clinicians and we also need more diagnostic devices, such as PET scanners and CT scanners.
« It’s crucial that people know the type of delays that are happening and in a situation, like me, it really could be life or death. »
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It started with Fayra Krueger noticing a small scab on top of her ear in late 2021, which wasn’t healing.
« I’ve had this problem before. Usually I go to the dermatologist and they use liquid nitrogen on it,” Krueger said.
The registered nurse then went to her family doctor to get a referral to see a dermatologist, but it took her over two months to book an appointment.
She then asked to have the scab surgically removed as it had been a recurring problem for her, but the dermatologist opted to use the standard liquid nitrogen procedure.
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When Krueger returned three months later for an examination, the scab had turned into a small, pea-sized mass.
The dermatologist then took a sample of the growth for a biopsy. Twelve weeks later, the tumor had grown to the size of a “large grape,” Krueger said.
“I was really surprised (how quickly he had grown). I did some research and saw that the type of skin cancer I had grew the fastest,” said Krueger at Global News.
“It was painful, it was bleeding and it was oozing. (The dermatologist) then rushed me into a clinic at Vancouver General Hospital where they specialize in removing these types of tumors.
“They gave me an eight-week schedule, but I was lucky they had a cancellation (which moved the operation up about a month),” Krueger said.
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She then had surgery to remove it and thought it was all over until she felt a lump in her neck a month later.
“There are about five lymph nodes in this area and three of them tested positive for cancer,” Kreuger said.
Several other tests had to be carried out, each requiring a long wait.
Now, three months later, another heist has occurred, this one while waiting for the BC Cancer Agency to give the go-ahead for a pet exam. Without it, she cannot have the operation.
BC Cancer officials said that while they cannot comment on specific individual cases, those who have been referred for pet review are considered high priority.
“While wait times for CT/PET scans vary by urgency, the majority of people wait 28 days or less, with urgent cases waiting less than 14 days on average,” said Dr Kim Nguyen Chi , BC Cancer’s Chief Medical Officer.
Health professionals are calling on the province to create better working environments for doctors and nurses, to help solve the health workforce crisis the province has been facing for years.
British Columbia’s Minister of Health gave a press conference on Monday.
“We are also going to work on a 10-year cancer plan. You will soon see to meet some of the increases in demand. In each of the last two budgets, there have been significant increases to the cancer budget,” said BC Health Minister Adrian Dix.
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