New equipment at VGH would help catch breast cancer earlier

Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign underway for new machine

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation is fundraising to upgrade a critical piece of equipment that can help diagnose breast cancer earlier and give patients a greater chance of survival from the dreaded disease.

The foundation launched its campaign recently at Victoria General Hospital to raise $420,000 for the purchase of a new mammography and stereotactic biopsy machine, which will help medical teams diagnose the smallest cancers in their earliest stages.

Dr. Brent Lee, a radiologist and clinical section head of the breast imaging program at VGH, said the machine will have a significant impact on outcomes for women with breast cancer.

“It offers women two procedures in one: digital mammography to detect cancer and a minimally invasive biopsy in the same appointment to confirm the diagnosis,” he said. “By pinpointing and biopsying even the smallest of cancers quickly and accurately, we can immediately begin lifesaving treatment and rule out serious problems with confidence.”

VGH has one of the machines already, but it’s getting dated and like most technology, has fast been outpaced in efficiency by newer versions. Lee’s section is a busy one, performing more than 25,000 imaging procedures a year.

“This equipment will save lives by improving the likelihood of early detection,” he said. “In their lifetime, one in eight women will experience the life-changing diagnosis of breast cancer.”

The foundation has mailed out campaign letters to Greater Victoria homes asking for help with the campaign, but donations can also be made by calling 250-519-1750 or visiting victoriahf.ca.

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