RCH’s longest-serving donor helps fund latest technology for breast cancer detection

Royal Columbian Hospital Auxiliary donates $100,000 to help fund diagnostic mammography machine

New Westminster, B.C. – December 3, 2012 – Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) Auxiliary members presented $100,000 to the RCH Breast Imaging and RCH Foundation teams today to help fund a second digital breast imaging machine at RCH to help reduce wait times for breast cancer diagnoses.

“Breast cancer affects so many women and it is such a devastating disease,” says RCH Auxiliary President Marlene Braidwood of the team’s decision to support the Breast Health campaign. “We saw this campaign as a good opportunity for us to help reduce wait lists for breast cancer diagnoses by making another imaging machine available.”

Breast cancer patients like Anne Walsh, 54, of Vancouver, certainly know how critical early diagnosis and treatment is in surviving the disease. After being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (an aggressive type of breast cancer) in May 2008, Anne was referred to RCH Surgeon Dr. Laurence Turner, who is also the head of Fraser Health’s General Surgery Division. An expert in the field of breast cancer surgery and Chair of the Breast Surgical Tumour Group for the BC Cancer Agency, Dr. Turner has performed thousands of breast cancer surgeries in just the past 15 years.

“It was a coup to have the cancer diagnosed so early…at the time, it was the size of an olive. If it had been left for two or three months more, it may have been the size of a fist,” recalls Walsh.

Dr. Turner didn’t waste any time in scheduling a lumpectomy for Walsh’s left side. In preparation for the critical surgery in July 2008, Dr. Heather MacNaughton, Clinical Director for Medical Imaging, performed a fine wire localization to mark the location of the tissue that needed to be removed. The surgery went well, and Walsh progressed to the next stage of her treatment; a grueling round of double chemotherapy that caused her to lose her hair and nails, followed by radiation.

“It is critical that all of the cells are destroyed because if even one cell of this type of cancer is left, it can come back with a vengeance and hit your bones,” explains Walsh. “I feel that everything is fine, now. I am quite indebted to Dr. Turner…he was amazing.” Walsh will be five years cancer free in May 2013.

Prior to introducing the second digital breast imaging machine at RCH, the Breast Imaging unit had only one machine to perform all of its breast imaging. If the machine required maintenance or repair, patient exams had to be placed on hold. According to Dr. MacNaughton, the new technology ensures the breast imaging team can deliver continuous service, providing a smoother, less stressful experience for patients.

Today’s donation makes for a cumulative gift from the Auxiliary of $200,000 towards RCH Foundation’s $650,000 Digital Breast Imaging campaign.
RCH Auxiliary

RCH Auxiliary is dedicated to making life easier and safer for staff and patients of RCH. From supporting visitors to the critical care ward and providing comfort items to patients in need, to raising funds through its stores to fund critically needed equipment throughout the hospital, the Auxiliary has been providing a critical service to health care at RCH since 1902. To volunteer or for more information about RCH Auxiliary, contact rchauxiliary1@gmail.com

Centre of excellence

Royal Columbian Hospital is a Fraser Health provincial centre and regional referral hospital providing specialized care for trauma, cardiac services, neurosciences, high risk maternity and neonatal intensive care for 1.6 million seriously ill and injured people from across the province. RCH is also a UBC teaching hospital with a Clinical Academic Campus.

Raising Funds

Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation (RCHF) is a provincial and regional independent charitable foundation that raises millions of dollars annually to help fund priority equipment needs, facility enhancements, research, education and innovation at RCH. For more information about Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, visitwww.rchcares.com or contact us at 604 520 4438.

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For more information, please contact:
Shannon Henderson
Manager, Marketing and Communications
(604) 520-4438