Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested more than $500,000 to purchase 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography technology for the Surrey Breast Health Clinic, located at Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.
The technology is considered more accurate in detecting cancer tumours earlier, especially smaller ones that aren’t as easily found using traditional 2D mammograms.
The funding was initiated by Tammy Ritchie of the Ritchie Family Foundation, among Holiday Home Tour for Hope teams that supported the purchase.
Coquitlam resident Tammy Thomson, 31, is a patient of surgeon Dr. Rhonda Janzen at the Breast Health Clinic. Thirteen months ago, Thomson underwent a double mastectomy to remove an aggressive cancerous tumour that had grown from pea-sized to the size of her fist within months.
“I have no doubt that if I had access to this digital breast tomosynthesis technology in the beginning, my breast cancer would have been caught earlier and taken care of much sooner,” says Thomson, a French immersion elementary school teacher and mother of two young children.
Surrey Breast Health Clinic is described as “a state-of-the-art facility that integrates and streamlines the diagnosis, treatment, and reconstruction surgery for women with breast cancer.” Clinic staff members include surgeons, radiologists, MI techs, breast clinic nurses, clerical staff and a social worker who provide specialized breast health care for patients through assessment, care, education and research.
“The (tomosynthesis) technology has already helped so many women especially those with dense breast tissue and we are grateful for their support,” said Dr. Dennis Janzen, a radiologist at the clinic and cousin of Rhonda Janzen.
More than 43 per cent of women in Canada, in particular those age 40 and over, have dense breast tissue which makes it more difficult to detect smaller tumours using the more traditional mammography method, according to Dr. Rhonda Janzen.
“Having a 3D digital breast tomosynthesis unit here at the clinic has greatly helped in the earlier detection and diagnosis of breast cancer for so many women, especially those who are higher risk and have dense breast tissue.”
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“I hope that by telling my story and sharing my experience, others can learn from it, to take ownership of their own health and to never stop pursuing treatment especially if they feel in their heart that something is wrong,” Thomson said in a news release.