KAMLOOPS — It's the most common cancer found in women over the age of the 20. 1 in 9 Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
In the Thompson-Nicola Region, close to 140 women are diagnosed every year, a devastating diagnosis requiring multiple appointments spread over many weeks or even months.
But now, Royal Inland Hospital is closer to dramatically reducing wait times and improving patient care, with a new breast health centre.
The Rapid Access Breast Health Clinic will centralize care, and make the process more efficient for women facing breast health concerns.
Today, a sizeable donation to the centre was made.
It's the largest single donation the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation has ever received. A $1,000,000 cheque to fight breast cancer, generously donated by a Kamloops family touched closely by this devestating disease.
"My husband's mother had breast cancer, Ron's sister has also had breast cancer, my daughter had a bit of a scare, and my daughter in law had a bit of a scare, so it does touch everybody," says Rae Fawcett, Kamloops Philanthropist.
Rae fawcett, a well known local philanthropist, has helped the foundation move one step closer to a Rapid Access Breast Health Clinic at the hospital. Easing the burden of uncertainty, by providing quick access and accurate diagnosis.
"They can have a mammogram in the morning, a biopsy in the afternoon and get it done, it's very scary to be on the side when you're waiting 2 or 3 months for the next step, this is very important," says Fawcett.
The clinic will be located in the new Clinical Services Building. Over the past 3 years, the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation has worked to bring this proposal to life, creating a one-stop approach for breast health, minimizing wait times, and alleviating stress.
"Women have waited 6 weeks to find out, most women tell me once they knew they had breast cancer, the treatment and the care was amazing, it was the waiting, the waiting is high anxiety and linked to high stress which isn't good for the body and we know that now," says Heidi Coleman, CEO of the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.
"The Rapid Access Breast Clinic will dramatically change this wait time, by centralizing and coordinating care for patients with breast health concerns, it will make our system more efficient, easier to navigate, more supportive and less scary," says Dr. Liz Ewart, Kamloops Family Physician.
On average, 135 women in the Thompson-Nicola Region are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and statistics show 1 in 9 Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer. The new clinic will fast track screening and results, for both local and out of town patients.
"You get to see the doctor, come for a mammogram, you get to have your ultrasound, have your biopsy, so you can almost do everything in one day, I think the patients are really going to benefit from that type of experience, rather than having a step wise progression through the system over a course of many weeks," says Dr. Vipal Vedd, Department Head for Royal Inland Hospital Medical Imaging.
Currently, women wait anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks to get a breast cancer diagnosis, a time that can be emotionally agonizing. Thanks to the Fawcett family, doctors at RIH will be able to find the disease early, initiate treatment quickly, and try to get the best results possible.
"Hopefully it'll make the cures faster, or the treatments fater and the outcome's much better," says Fawcett.
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