Today, the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) officially opened its new Cedars Breast Clinic located at the Royal Victoria Hospital site, on the 10th Floor of the Surgical Pavilion.
The new 9,000-square-foot clinic is spacious and attractive. Its pastel colors, indirect lighting and comfortable waiting areas, diagnostic rooms and treatment rooms are all meant to create a pleasant and humane environment and to reduce the stress of patients.
"We know that few medical problems incite greater fear among patients than breast symptoms," says one of the clinic's co-directors Dr. Antoine Loutfi. And while the vast majority of symptoms prove to be benign, patients are seldom spared the emotionally grueling process of delays of weeks or months as they move from the doctor's office to the surgeon, to mammography and ultrasound. When biopsies are required, a further delay of weeks may occur."
"Now, the Cedars Breast Clinic brings all of these services into a single geographical area so that the entire process can take place within a few days, saving the patient a substantial amount of time and associated anxiety," says the other co-director, Dr. David Fleiszer. "Patients who face a diagnosis of breast cancer are able to undergo definitive major surgery within two to three weeks."
Staffed by a multi-disciplinary team of receptionists, nurses, technologists, radiologists and breast surgeons, the clinic is also championed by a team of volunteers, many of whom are breast cancer survivors, available to provide support during and after the treatment phase. A patient resource library and education program have been created to increase public awareness of the importance of early diagnosis and to inform the patient of treatment options. The clinic is ready to see as many as 20,000 patients per year who may undergo a mammography, needle aspiration and biopsy, as well as breast ultrasound.
In addition to teaching and patient care, research is an integral part of this clinic. A structured training program for medical students and residents is intended to improve the quality of breast care in the long-term. A close relationship among the basic science researchers and the clinicians has been established and several joint projects have been initiated. Bringing these two groups together should lead to new ways of treating and preventing breast cancer.
Drs. Antoine Loutfi and David Fleiszer teamed up to develop the idea of a comprehensive rapid-service clinic three years ago. The Cedars Cancer Institute took a leadership role in raising funds to construct the clinic. Aided by the Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation and the Montreal General Hospital Foundation, the clinic became a reality in December 2001. Further funding from the Girls for the Cure, the Carl Andersen Annual Ultra-Marathon, the Montreal Breast Cancer Foundation and a great number of individual patients and supporters have brought the potential for the clinic to a world-class level. The total cost of the project was $3 million.
The Cedars Breast Clinic is a designated referral centre for the Provincial Breast Cancer Screening Program. Medicare covers all testing and procedures provided at the clinic. More information can be obtained by calling (514) 843-2829.