Files mishandled at BC Cancer Agency

Genetic screeners contacting nearly 200 patients assessed in Surrey, Abbotsford and Vancouver

The BC Cancer Agency has fired a staff member it says mishandled nearly 200 files and potentially delayed screening of people identified as genetically predisposed to cancer.

The compromised cases involve 192 patients who used the Hereditary Cancer Program at the BC Cancer Agency sites in Surrey, Abbotsford and Vancouver between August and December of 2010.

The program provides counseling and referrals for genetic testing for patients whose family histories suggest they may be predisposed to develop cancer.

Because of incomplete documentation of the affected files, referring physicians may not have been properly notified of any findings.

Dr. Barb McGillivray, the program’s medical director, said patients were all  properly evaluated and advised of findings by counsellors at the time they were assessed.

“In some cases, the next step – sending a letter back to the referring physician and outlining our recommendation – that did not occur,” she said.

As a result, the agency is following up to make sure the patients and their relatives are informed.

The program has already reached 188 affected patients and it’s searching for the remaining four. All of their physicians have been contacted.

Anyone who was assessed by the program at the three sites in the second half of 2010 and have not yet been contacted is asked to call 604-877-6000 local 2198.

“The agency and the program are very concerned that this happened,” McGillivray said.

But she stressed the risk of harm to the patients is “minimal” because the Hereditary Cancer Program does not directly diagnose and treat patients.

The service typically involves determining timelines for future screening or tests, if warranted, and potential preventative measures.

Genetic testing does not diagnose cancer but may indicated the presence of a mutation that is known to increase the patient’s likelihood of developing cancer.

A spokesperson for the Provincial Health Services Authority said the matter is being taken “very seriously” and an investigation is underway.

“BC Cancer Agency and PHSA apologize and sincerely regret any stress or anxiety this situation may have caused the clients and physicians involved,” the authority said in a statement.

The patients involved could have come from all over B.C., except for Vancouver Island.

Just Posted

Drug checking added to Electric Love’s overdose prevention strategy

Organizers aim to increase safety, prevent overdoses at ‘drug and alcohol free’ festival

Agassiz sisters prepare for BC Games

Girls competing in canoe/kayak races in Cowichan Valley

UPDATED: Police call off search for body under Agassiz Rosedale Bridge

Swimmers reported discovering body two days ago

Crime prevention group looking for volunteers

P.A.H. Patrol pushes citizens to take part in stopping crime

Agassiz Farms Cycle Tour returns for 12th year

Offers sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Fraser Valley farming and agriculture

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

VIDEO: Critter Care opens its doors

Thousands attend open house at Lower Mainland wildlife rehabilitation centre

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read