Breast cancer diagnosis in one day

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p>The Breast Cancer Rapid Diagnosis Program at Princess Margaret Hopspital (PMH) has received a $12.5 million donation from Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight. The couple is also leading a fundraising campaign to secure the remaining $12.5 million to complete the centre.

The vision for this groundbreaking initiative is that when completely operational, women and men suspected of having breast cancer will be able to receive all their tests, diagnosis and treatment plan in one day at Princess Margaret Hospital.

Research has shown that a major stress factor for individuals with suspicious breast lesions is enduring the wait time between diagnostic tests, results and treatment plans that can often take five to eight weeks. With the rapid diagnosis initiative, within one day, patients — who must be referred by their family physician — are able to have a physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound and tissue biopsy (if needed), and receive the results. If given a positive diagnosis, a treatment plan is devised and given to the patient. Referral can then be made to breast surgeons, either at PMH or closer to home.

The evolving clinical program, using a new pathology processor, began in 2006 at The Princess Margaret under the leadership of Dr. David McCready, a surgical oncologist and head of the breast cancer program. Currently, the rapid diagnostic program sees six to eight patients each week. Overwhelming response has confirmed the need to expand the program and partner with other hospitals so that, following diagnosis, access to treatment can be improved as well.

To date, 550 patients have gone through the rapid diagnostic process at PMH. In the next few months, this historic donation will enable the centre to expand to diagnose 15 patients per week (750 per year), and will increase exponentially with a vision of diagnosing 3,000 patients per year by the time the program is running at full capacity in 2013, marking a tenfold increase from current volumes.

“This extremely generous gift allows Princess Margaret Hospital to evolve its current clinical program on breast cancer diagnosis into a fully functioning Rapid Diagnostic Centre,” says Dr. McCready. “Thanks to Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight, we will be able to provide a new model of diagnosis for Toronto area women and men.”

Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Medical Director, the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Program, says, “The Rapid Diagnostic Centre fits in perfectly with The Princess Margaret’s goal to transform patient care.”

The clinic will be named The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre (GRDC) in recognition of the generous donation from Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight, long-time philanthropists who have greatly contributed to the community.

The expansion of the Guttuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre will be rolled out in three phases over the next 10 years:

• Phase 1- Fall

2009-2010

During the first phase, patient volumes will double to 750 annually. To accommodate this increase, five new staff members will be added to the existing team of two. The patient increase affords PMH excellent basic science and clinical research opportunities in which patients will be invited to voluntarily participate. During Phase 1, infrastructure to support these research initiatives will be expanded. We will also seek to create partnerships with Women’s College and Mount Sinai Hospitals, as well as other regional cancer centres, to assist with surgical volumes and to ensure that a broad base of patients can take advantage of this service.

• Phase 2- 2011-2012

Patient volumes will again double from 750 to 1,500 patients per year. During this phase, the GRDC will move into a new home with the necessary equipment and extra space required to accommodate the increased patient population. The core team assembled in Phase 1 will remain the same and research activities will continue.

• Phase 3- 2013-2018

By year five of this phase GRDC will be running at full capacity, seeing 3,000 patients per year. A registered nurse will be added to the personnel team to accommodate the increase in patients. Research initiatives will be well underway.

Please note that your physician must refer you to this clinic, and you cannot make your own appointment. For more information, phone 416-946-2297.