Breast care in London undergoes overhaul



For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2010

A consolidation of breast screening, diagnostic assessment and surgery services will reduce wait times, improve care and smooth the journey
for women facing breast cancer.

(LONDON, Ontario) – A new, dedicated breast care centre will open at St. Joseph’s Hospital as part of a plan to bring together breast screening, diagnostic assessment and surgery services in one location in London. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy will remain at the London Regional Cancer Program of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC).

This plan, approved by the Southwest LHIN, will significantly reduce the wait times for breast care services from diagnosis to breast cancer surgery, allow for more expedient service for patients requiring breast care, and ensure patients receive consistent education and support through their entire care journey.

The breast care experience for women in London was the catalyst for the consolidation plan. With breast screening, diagnostic assessment and surgery services available at both St. Joseph’s and London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) the care experience varied considerably. “For example, we found the variability of wait times in London was significant, with women waiting anywhere from 49 days to more than five months from the first abnormal imaging test to cancer treatment,” says Glen Kearns, vice president, clinical support services and information technology services, St. Joseph’s and LHSC.

The consolidation plan is a joint effort by St. Joseph’s and LHSC and demonstrates an ongoing commitment to integrated care and improving services for patients in the London area. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy will remain at the London Regional Cancer Program of LHSC.

All breast imaging and surgery clinics will be located at St. Joseph’s Hospital in existing space by October. Patients will be informed of any change in location of their appointments.

The main component of the consolidation plan is the creation of a dedicated breast diagnostic and surgical care centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital, expected to open in fall 2011 when renovations are completed. All breast assessment and diagnostic services will then move into to this new centre, where an interdisciplinary breast assessment team, including surgeons and radiologists, will work together.

"The best in breast care demands the best in technology, highly trained and motivated technologists, nurses, radiologists and surgeons, working in a team setting in an environment that nurtures and supports seamless care,” says Dr. Don Taves, a breast imaging specialist at St. Joseph’s and leader in the consolidation project. “We have this opportunity as we consolidate and develop the breast care centre at St. Joseph’s.”

The new care model, adds surgical oncologist Dr. Muriel Brackstone, will provide women with “the most comprehensive care, from screening and diagnosis to reconstruction. We will also be positioned to become national leaders in multidisciplinary care and translational research, developing novel programs such as high risk screening and prevention clinics for young women.”


About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and Lawson Health Research Institute - a joint research initiative with St Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 30 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s 10,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London
St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario

For more information, please contact:

Dahlia Reich

Communication and Public Affairs

St. Joseph's Health Care, London

519-646-6100 ext 65294

After 4:00pm call (519) 646-6100
and ask to have the
Communicator-on-Call paged.

Cory Habermehl

Corporate Communications and Public Relations

London Health Sciences Centre

519-685-8500 ext 58738

After 4:00pm call (519) 685-8500
and ask to have the
Communicator-on-Call paged.