B.C. woman speaks out over biopsy delay


After testing optimistic for a gene that places her at excessive threat for breast most cancers, coupled along with her household’s medical historical past, Jannelle Chemko says it’s not a matter of if she’ll get the illness, however when.

That’s how the 37-year-old ended up in BC Cancer’s hereditary screening program – which is why she’s in disbelief over the six-month wait she’s dealing with to get a biopsy for 2 suspicious spots in her breasts.

“If I had known back in August that it was going to be six months, I would have looked into alternative options right away,” stated Chemko, three months after her mammogram recognized the spots. “Instead I’m at the mercy of a health-care system that’s failing.”

On the day of the analysis, Chemko says she was informed she’d get a biopsy appointment in two to a few weeks. Weeks was months, till her medical doctors on the hereditary most cancers program known as to inform her the earliest appointment out there to her was in February.

When escalation ways by each her workforce at BC Cancer and her household physician failed, the pinnacle of the hereditary most cancers program suggested her to jot down a letter to her MLA.

“My sister said ‘OK! We’ll email your MLA and anyone else we have to,’” Chemko stated, referring to her older sibling, Jana Letain.

The pair misplaced their mom final yr at age 59 to breast most cancers, and their grandmother died of the identical illness when she was 53 years outdated.

“My mom would be devastated to know she went through this a year ago and now my sister may be going through the journey but she can’t get the testing done to know if we should be worried about anything at this point,” says Letain.

After writing a letter to West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Karin Kirkpatrick, Health Minister Adrian Dix and B.C. Premier David Eby, Letain has solely acquired one reply.

Having survived breast most cancers herself, Kirkpatrick says she’ll do no matter it takes to assist Chemko whereas acknowledging there’s solely three sitting days left within the B.C. legislature this yr.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to have that conversation and if not in the house then certainly directly with the health minister so we can help this young woman and other women in the same position as she is,” Kirkpatrick stated.

In September, radiologists throughout B.C. penned a letter to Dix, calling for pressing motion to handle lengthy waits for life-saving medical imaging.

Since then, the president of BC Radiological Society tells CTV News that the group has met with Dix to advocate for sufferers and propose options.

Proposed fixes embrace recruiting, coaching and retaining radiologists who specialise in breast imagining and increasing the availability of breast biopsies.

“Timely access to medical imaging saves lives,” stated Dr. Dr. Charlotte Yong-Hing, including, “the anxiety associated with waiting for medical imaging can also have adverse effects on mental health, which should not be underestimated.”

At this level, Chemko says she’ll do something to be proactive to remain wholesome for her two children, who’re ages one and three. That contains searching for pricey remedy from a particular clinic north of Seattle, which has provided her a biopsy subsequent week, paperwork pending.

“My mom’s mom passed away when I was three weeks old, and my mom died when I was nine months pregnant. She never met my son, and I want it to stop here,” stated a teary Chemko.

CTV News has reached out to the provincial Health Ministry, which says it’s reviewing Chemko’s story and getting ready a response.


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