Vancouver Island cancer patients may no longer have to travel to the Lower Mainland for cancer-related scans.

The province and the BC Cancer Foundation announced a new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at the BC Cancer Centre in Victoria on Monday.

"Approximately half of British Columbians are expected to receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, and timely, effective diagnostics are a critically important part of cancer care and treatment," said Premier John Horgan.

"This means cancer patients on Vancouver Island will receive better, faster diagnostic services and care, closer to home."

A PET/CT scanner is critical technology in cancer diagnosis, delivering precise images of abnormal or cancerous cells.

The total cost of the project is $6.5 million, with $5.3 million provided by the BC Cancer Foundation and $1.2 million coming from the Ministry of Health through the Provincial Health Services Authority.

"Last year, more than 1,900 Island residents had to travel to Vancouver to receive their scans," said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

"Opening this new PET/CT suite in Victoria means patients living in the region now have access to highly effective diagnostic imaging that will help to improve the cancer services people count on."

This marks the third publicly funded scanner of its kind in B.C. and the first to be located outside the Lower Mainland. Once operational, the scanner suite is expected to provide more than 2,200 scans per year.