Health care providers and patients will gather on Thursday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre (WWBC), which has served tens of thousands of women and improved access for women with clinical breast concerns.
“Over the past five years, the breast centre has made great strides in breast cancer screening for the women in our region,” said Dr. Craig McFadyen, regional vice president for Cancer Care Ontario and vice president of cancer services at Grand River Hospital (GRH).
“We’re very pleased that innovative programs at the breast centre have provided faster access to more women for screening and diagnostic care,” said D’Arcy Delamere, chair of the GRH Board. “We want to thank all the care staff and leaders who’ve helped the program grow and develop, as well as the thousands of patients who have trusted us with their care.”
Lavinica Strauss, a 49 year old resident from Waterloo, was referred to the WWBC by her family doctor after discovering a change in her breast health.
“I am thankful for the caring and professional staff that put me at ease during my cancer journey,” said Lavinica. “All of the staff reduced the fear of the experience by talking with me and by answering all of my what-if questions with empathy.”
Located at GRH’s Freeport Site and serving over 13,000 women a year, the WWBC offers state-of-the-art mammography services and dedicated breast ultrasound for the women in our region.
Since opening in 2007, the WWBC has:
- Provided over 58,000 mammograms and 20,000 breast ultrasounds;
- Through generous community donations made to the Grand River Hospital Foundation, purchased additional breast ultrasound equipment to produce higher resolution images, and a biopsy unit to allow for greater precision biopsies; and
- Enhanced screening services for women who are deemed to be at high risk for breast cancer.
“With improved program and service offerings, we encourage more women to take advantage of these and get screened,” said Dr. McFadyen.
In addition to screening services, the WWBC is also home to the breast diagnostic assessment program (breast DAP). Women with a new breast lump or abnormal screening mammogram experience a seamless one-day service giving them access to health care providers specialized in breast imaging, ultrasound, full field digital mammography and breast biopsy.
“Having an ultrasound, biopsy and consulting with a surgeon in one day was remarkable. This made me feel confident that my situation would be resolved in a timely manner,” said Lavinica.
Results show that patients who go through the program shorten their diagnostic journey, from an abnormality to surgery, from 109 to 39 days.
“Over the past five years, we have expedited screening services for over 2,600 women in our region and detected over 700 cancers much quicker than before,” said Dr. McFadyen. “Screening finds breast cancer earlier when there are more treatment options and an improved chance of survival.”
For patients with cancer, the program also offers the help of a breast nurse navigator. The nurse navigator provides support and guidance to newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients and helps to speed up required testing needed to proceed with treatment.
“My advice to women is to call your family doctor if you see any changes in your breast health, or call the Waterloo Wellington Breast Centre and book yourself a mammogram,” said Lavinica.
Women between the ages of 50 and 74, at average risk for breast cancer, are encouraged to have a screening mammogram every two to three years. To book a mammogram through the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) at the WWBC, call 519-749-4270. To find another OBSP site near you, call 1-800-668-9304 or visit www.cancercare.on.ca/obsp.