wes bland

Wes Bland, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in late August, was told by doctors he is likely cancer-free after all. (Adam Burns/CBC)

A Kenora man who was diagnosed with lung cancer and had to travel to Thunder Bay for a medical test may not have cancer after all.

Wes Bland, who was diagnosed with the disease in August by a Winnipeg oncologist, was told that he need a PET (positron emission tomography) scan to find out if there was cancer in his lymph nodes.

But instead of having the scan done in Winnipeg, Bland was forced to travel to a clinic in Thunder Bay — a six-hour drive from his Kenora home — because of issues surrounding out-of-province medical care.

Now Bland’s doctor says the growth on his lung is likely not cancerous and may just be scar tissue from an earlier illness.

"When you're told you got cancer, you kind of put your life on hold, because you don't know what the future is,” said Bland, who had to travel back to the Winnipeg hospital for his test results.

“But once I seen the doctor, it was like a 10-ton ship was lifted off my shoulders,” he said.

Despite the news, Bland says he and his wife will continue to fight for residents of northwestern Ontario who want to access healthcare closer to home — in Manitoba.

"We're gonna keep fighting it until we find out what's going on," Bland said. "Because there's no way anybody from here should have to go to Thunder Bay."

According to a Ministry of Health spokesperson, prior approval isn't necessary for an Ontario resident to get a PET scan in Manitoba — but it is encouraged.

An Ontario official said last week that the province would clarify the rules with Manitoba on how to obtain approval.