July 8 – On July 13, Guelph General Hospital is introducing a new program, the Breast Assessment Clinic. It is designed to significantly reduce the amount of time a woman spends waiting to know whether or not she has breast cancer.
The patient’s journey usually begins when a lump is found or a shadow appears on a screening mammogram. Then, it can take up to three visits to the hospital over a four to six week period before a diagnosis can be made. Usually, a second mammogram is needed which may be followed by an ultrasound. Then, some will need a needle biopsy with the sample sent to the lab. Now with the new clinic, all that is done in one day.
It can result in quickly getting good news too. Some women will have a false alarm because something abnormal is found on mammogram but after more tests, no cancer is found.
“This is about improving our patient’s experience by significantly reducing their time spent wondering whether or not they have cancer,” explains Dr. Samir Patel, GGH’s Chief of Diagnostic Imaging. “It’s also about providing the best care possible should cancer be found. By taking advantage of our modern, fully digitized and integrated diagnostic equipment including our mammography machine, patients can get their diagnosis as quickly as possible which means treatment can be started sooner.”
To be held every Wednesday, an appointment at the clinic requires a referral from a physician.