The PMH Breast Cancer Rapid Diagnosis initiative is set to expand, thanks to a $12.5-million donation from Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight, which supports the program's $25-million expansion campaign. 

The goal? Once complete, the Rapid Diagnosis initiative will be able to provide tests, diagnosis, and a treatment plan for patients in a single day (who must first be referred to PMH by their family physician). In other words, patients will be able to have a physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound, and, if needed, tissue biopsy, and receive the results that same day. If the diagnosis is positive, a treatment plan will be made and given to the patient, who can then be referred to a breast surgeon, either at PMH or closer to home, depending where they live. 

Currently, there's an average wait of five to eight weeks between diagnostic tests, results, and treatment plans for patients with suspected breast lesions, and that wait is, not surprisingly, a major stress factor for patients. Rapid diagnostics changes all that. 

The pilot program—led by Dr. David McCready, Surgical Oncologist and Head, Breast Cancer Program, PMH—began in 2006 and currently sees six to eight patients a week. With the new funding, it will expand to 15 patients per week, or 750 per year, over the next few months, eventually reaching a target of 3,000 patients per year by 2013, when the program is expected to be at full capacity. 

"This extremely generous gift allows PMH to evolve its current clinical program on breast cancer diagnosis into a fully functioning Rapid Diagnostic Centre," said Dr. McCready in a statement. "Thanks to Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan Slaight, we will be able to provide a new model of diagnosis for Toronto-area women and men." 

Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz, Medical Director, PMH Cancer Program, says that this initiative "fits in perfectly with PMH's goal to transform patient care, working with our hospital partners in the community."​

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