Generous gift to change face of breast cancer diagnosis in Canada



    TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - Through the extraordinary generosity of Emmanuelle
Gattuso and Allan Slaight, Princess Margaret Hospital's Breast Cancer Rapid
Diagnosis program will receive a $12.5 million donation in support of its $25
million expansion campaign. The couple is also leading a fundraising campaign
to secure the remaining $12.5 million to complete the centre.
    The vision for this groundbreaking initiative is that when completely
operational, women and men suspected of having breast cancer will be able to
receive all their tests, diagnosis and treatment plan in one day at Princess
Margaret Hospital.
    Research has shown that a major stress factor for individuals with
suspicious breast lesions is enduring the wait time between diagnostic tests,
results and treatment plans that can often take five to eight weeks. With the
Rapid Diagnosis initiative, within one day, patients   -- who must be referred
by their family physician -- are able to have a physical exam, mammogram,
ultrasound and tissue biopsy (if needed), and receive the results. If given a
positive diagnosis, a treatment plan is devised and given to the patient.
Referral can then be made to breast surgeons, either at The Princess Margaret
or closer to home.
    The evolving clinical program, using a new pathology processor, began in
2006 at The Princess Margaret under the leadership of Dr. David McCready, a
surgical oncologist and head of the breast cancer program. Initial funding was
provided by The Weekend to End Breast Cancer. Currently, the rapid diagnostic
program sees six to eight patients each week. Overwhelming response has
confirmed the need to expand the program and partner with other hospitals so
that, following diagnosis, access to treatment can be improved as well.
    To date, 550 patients have gone through the rapid diagnostic process at
The Princess Margaret. In the next few months, this historic donation will
enable the centre to expand to diagnose 15 patients per week (750 per year),
and will increase exponentially with a vision of diagnosing 3,000 patients per
year by the time the program is running at full capacity in 2013, marking a
tenfold increase from current volumes.
    "This extremely generous gift allows Princess Margaret Hospital to evolve
its current clinical program on breast cancer diagnosis into a fully
functioning Rapid Diagnostic Centre," stated Dr. McCready. "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, the Princess Margaret Hospital
Cancer Program, commented, "The Rapid Diagnostic Centre fits in perfectly with
The Princess Margaret's goal to transform patient care."
    Emmanuelle Gattuso began providing support through fundraising events
like Laugh Lines, and encouraged Dr. McCready and The Princess Margaret to
develop an expanded vision for the future. "This innovative approach to
diagnosing breast cancer will not only change the lives of a great many of the
patients diagnosed with breast cancer in Ontario every year, but will also
help make our medical care system more patient-friendly," said Emmanuelle
Gattuso, herself a breast cancer survivor. "We are thrilled to be able to
contribute to the development of the Rapid Diagnostic program."
    "With so much discouraging news these days, this gift from Emmanuelle and
Allan is simply outstanding news for women and men suspected of having breast
cancer," added Paul Alofs, the President and CEO of The Princess Margaret
Hospital Foundation.
    The clinic will be named The Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre in
recognition of the generous donation from Emmanuelle Gattuso and Allan
Slaight, long-time philanthropists who have greatly contributed to the
community.

    About Princess Margaret Hospital

    Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm the Ontario Cancer
Institute, which now includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute
and The Campbell Family Breast Cancer Research Institute, have achieved an
international reputation as one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the
world. Princess Margaret Hospital is a member of University Health Network
which also includes Toronto General Hospital and Toronto Western Hospital. All
three are research hospitals affiliated with the University of Toronto. More
information about UHN can be found at www.uhn.ca.

    About The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation

    The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation at University Health Network
raises funds for breakthrough research, exemplary teaching and compassionate
care at Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, the Ontario Cancer
Institute, which now includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute
and The Campbell Family Breast Cancer Research Institute. More information
about the Foundation can be found at www.pmhf.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Kevin Shea, Manager of Public Relations,
Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, (416) 946-2898; kevin.shea@pmhf.ca


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