The Trail hospital is moving toward advanced equipment to deliver testing for women in the Kootenay Boundary who have a history of breast cancer or current symptoms.
The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) Health Foundation has just raised half of the $950,000 needed to replace its 11-year-old film mammography machine with a digital mammography with stereotactic capabilities.
“I’ve been a mammography technician for 25 years so all of this is very personal,” said Sue DeRosa, head of digital imaging at KBRH.
Her mom, Rita Holmes of Rossland, was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago when an abnormality was picked up during a screening while her sister Gillian Minchuk, who lives on the Coast, was diagnosed nine years ago when she found a lump on her breast.
Her mom managed to rid the cancer after a lumpectomy and radiation but her sister went through a more trying process.
“It was quite a shock,” said DeRosa, noting that her sister had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy but despite all of her efforts the disease came back in her bones.
Special treatment then kept it at bay for about two years before it came back in her brain. After brain surgery to remove the tumor and radiation, Minchuk joined her mom as a cancer survivor.
A mammography exam is used to aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women, a process that is expedited with digital equipment.
This state-of-the-art machine will not only support diagnostic imaging but also general surgical practice at the Trail hospital. Stereotactic biopsy capabilities means patients may be able to have a needle biopsy instead of invasive surgery to diagnose a breast lump.
“These biopsies are done in the mammography room instead of the OR, which means a faster recovery and reduced pressure on our OR,” explained Thalia Vesterback, Interior Health regional manager of diagnostic imaging. “Some patients will still require surgery but it means more options for surgeons and their patients.”
The accepted gold standard of care in breast imaging produces high-resolution images that can be sent electronically to another facility when a second opinion is needed from other radiologists, surgeons or oncologists.
“Specialists’ opinions are now only a click way,” explained Lisa Pasin, KBRH Health Foundation director. “This is important in our mountainous, rural remote setting.”
Mammography is the last imaging modality in KBRH’s medical imaging department to move to digital but film-based systems will still be an integral part of imaging service for some time to come.
“This is in keeping with our computer-based world,” said Vesterback. “Just as film-based cameras have been replaced with digital cameras, we are doing the same in diagnostic imaging.”
The Trail Hospital Auxiliary just donated $10,000 to the cause, bringing its total contribution up to $70,000, and topping the Health Foundation’s goal to the half mark of $480,000.
The Health Foundation has received widespread support for its campaign, reaching generous residents across the Kootenay Boundary, but it’s still plugging away in hopes of reaching its objective by 2013.
Formerly called the Trail Regional Hospital Foundation, the Health Foundation has raised over $10.6 million to advance health care in the Kootenay Boundary since 1988. The Foundation’s revenue is generated through donations from private and corporate donors.
Funding priorities include raising endowed gifts and annual funds to support health care equipment needs, staff education, and special initiatives to enhance health care through the Trail hospital and other Kootenay Boundary health care facilities.
Donations can be made online at www.kbrhhealthfoundation.ca, over the phone (364-3495) or by mail (KBRH Health Foundation, 1200 Hospital Bench, Trail, B.C. V1R 4M1).