Launch of the Public Diagnostic Breast Imaging Service Canberra Hospital
I attended the launch of this new public diagnostic breast screening Service at Canberra Hospital this morning. I spent ages with Dr Jeremy Price, a radiologist, whose talk at the Breast Cancer Treatment Group meeting last year, alerted me to the value of MRI's diagnosing breast cancer. MRI's of the breast can pick up cancers much earlier than mammograms and are especially valuable for those with a high risk of bc ( BRAC genes/family history).
The Independent Property Group donated MRI cones (device @$150,000) which can be used with/in the hospital's existing MRI machine to image just the breasts. This image is then used for any needed biopsy. Whilst the ideal is to have an MRI machine just for breast cancer diagnosis - this new 'time-share' is welcome.
This public MRI breast service will mean no gap to pay and hopefully women who can't afford to have these done privately will be the first to benefit. Still requires a specialist referral though.
MRI's are expensive but if they lead to early diagnosis, subsequent treatment resulting in better patient outcomes may lead to overall cost savings.
I also learnt more about dense breasts ( see Gerda's post last week) and how MRI's are the best imaging tool for bc diagnosis. I asked about the reporting of dense breasts on standard report forms? Not generally done. So this is another piece of information to put into the MY JOURNEY KIT ( along with the radiation dose, total Grays and in what fractions, received from Radiotherapy post surgery).
Oh, I put on my Pink BCNA vest and everyone was delighted. I was immediately shunted to the front, alongside Katy Gallagher (the ACT Health Minister who was launching the Service)- so BCNA had a very obvious presence. Perhaps on the news tonight? I must remember to look.
Today was also very valuable for my other Imaging committees- Nehta e-Health and the Doha Diagnostic Imaging Quality Committee viz more knowledge and more contacts. It also shows the value of the ‘on-line forum’ and advocates sharing information. If I had not read Gerda’s message about dense breasts I would not have had such an informed conversation with the radiologists today- indeed I would never have even thought to mention this. I did ask whether they reported dense breasts on their report forms and we decided they should. So the ideas flow two ways. Hence my comment above about somehow recording information about breast density in the record section of the MJ Kit.