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The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation (PMHF) recently announced that every donation made during the fundraising campaign to expand The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre for breast cancer at Princess Margaret Hospital will be matched, dollar for dollar, through the generosity of philanthropist Allan Slaight.
The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre at The Princess Margaret diagnoses and provides a treatment plan within one day for those suspected of having breast cancer. The pilot program was created by Dr. David McCready, The Gattuso Chair in Breast Surgical Oncology, Head of the Breast Cancer Program at Princess Margaret Hospital and originally funded through The Weekend to End Breast Cancer.
Patients who qualify are referred to the Centre by their family physician. They are given a physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound and, if needed, a tissue biopsy on the same day. If tests confirm that the tumour is malignant, a treatment plan is also developed that day and the patient returns to their referring physician with the plan for treatment. Patients who receive diagnosis and a treatment plan in one day report that it eliminates much of the anxiety and, if cancer is found, people can then move to treatment very quickly.
The average wait for diagnosis is 33 days. Since initiating the program in 2006, 526 women and men have gone through rapid diagnosis. Once the program is at full capacity— expected by 2018—The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre will see up to 3,000 patients a year whose family physicians suspect that breast cancer is a possibility. The GRDC will also collaborate with other centres so that patients with a breast cancer diagnosis can move rapidly to treatment.
In May 2009, The PMHF received a $12.5 million donation from Emmanuelle Gattuso and her husband, Allan Slaight, to support an expansion of the program offered by Dr. McCready and his colleagues. To commemorate the extraordinary gift, the program was renamed The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre. This generosity is now extended through Allan Slaight's offer to match every dollar donated by the public towards the Centre. The campaign is seeking to raise the additional $12.5 million required to complete the Centre.
"We are beyond thrilled at the generosity of both Allan Slaight and Emmanuelle Gattuso," says Paul Alofs, President and CEO of The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. "As The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre improves the standard of care in breast cancer, it is our hope that it will also serve as a new model in patient treatment that can be duplicated across Canada and around the world for the rapid diagnosis of breast cancer and other cancers as well."
Donors are able to contribute in one of three ways. They can visit the dedicated website, www.onedaypmh.ca, phone 1-800-994-4649 or text message GIVE to 30333.