Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach says there’s strong support for digital mammography in Smithers at the Northwest Regional District Hospital Board.

“It was great to hear the strong support from the other mayors around the table and the other directors around the hospital board,” says Bachrach.

As a director, he was there last week where a group of 10 concerned residents who were advocating for a digital machine at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.

“People did express some disappointment that new units have been ordered for Terrace and Prince Rupert, but for some reason weren’t ordered for Smithers,” says Bachrach.

Northern Health is phasing out the machine at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital in 2018.

They may move to a mobile screening unit in Smithers that will send people to Terrace for diagnostic treatment.

Bachrach says there hasn’t been a firm commitment from Northern Health to replace the outdated machine at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital with digital.

Meanwhile, Northern Health says Terrace and Prince Rupert were upgraded to digital mammography in 2016/17.

Northern Health says the “placement of digital mammography capacity is decided in the context of NH’s overall medical imaging strategy, and with the BC Cancer Agency and its Provincial Breast Health Strategy.”

“Among considerations in that process are screening participation rates, the need for skilled technical staff, and radiologists specializing in breast health,” said Northern Health via email.

Screening mammography targets in the 2016/17 fiscal year were 750 for Smithers, and 1050 for Terrace.

Northern Health says in the same time period, approximately 400 diagnostic mammograms were performed in Smithers and approximately 535 in Terrace.