Launched in September 2006, the Rapid Diagnostic Pilot provides patients with answers in one day, instead of weeks or months. It allows a woman or man to have a physical exam, a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a tissue biopsy if needed – and review the results with a surgeon, all on the same day. The pilot is unique in Canada, supported by funds raised through the Weekend to End Breast Cancer (WEBC).
| ||Dr. David McCready, surgical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), leads the pilot|
Dr. David McCready, a surgical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), leads the pilot. The idea arose from listening to patients and understanding their desire to receive more timely answers. Currently in Canada, it can take weeks and sometimes months, for a woman or man to receive a diagnosis after first noticing a lump in their breast. For anyone waiting to find out if they do or don’t have cancer, this period of waiting can be extremely stressful.
If a patient is given a positive diagnosis at the Rapid Diagnostic Pilot, she or he leaves the clinic the same day, with a treatment plan. This process is significantly more efficient and better for the patient overall, as it addresses the cancer immediately.
One of the machines that enables this same-day diagnosis is called an ‘express tissue processor’. At a cost of $300,000, this technology is one of the most advanced biopsy testing systems available, and can process up to 120 biopsy samples per hour.
Thanks to WEBC, PMH is currently screening select women and men and making adjustments to the pilot with the hopes that one day, it can be a full-time clinic. PMH anticipates that providing a rapid diagnostic clinic that addresses patient needs faster, will change the face of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in Canada.