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Monday, November 24, 2014

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CHW campaign launch aids breast cancer centres

Tags: Health
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Dr. Tami Karni [Cara Edell photo]

TORONTO — Canadian Hadassh-WIZO (CHW) recently hosted its annual campaign launch event, Hope & Inspiration. 

The April 21 fundraiser was held at the Eglinton Grand in Toronto and featured guest speakers Dr. Tami Karni and Dr. Eileen Rakovitch.

Karni, a surgeon who is the medical director of CHW’s M. Fanny Comprehensive Breast Care Institute at Assaf Harofeh Medical Centre in Israel, talked about delivering the best possible patient care.

Rakovitch, the director of the new Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, discussed how patient care is evolving with new research, treatments and technologies.

The CHW event, which supports the rapid diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, raised funds for an exam room at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s new breast-cancer centre and an ultrasound unit at the CHW M. Fanny Comprehensive Breast Care Institute in Israel.

Thanks to a generous donation from CHW, the M. Fanny Comprehensive Breast Care Institute opened in 2000, setting a new standard for patient care in Israel. Karni said staff from various medical backgrounds work together at the facility to offer a multi-disciplinary haven for cancer patients and their families.

In its first year of operation, the institute served 5,300 patients. In 2003, more than 12,000 patients were screened, and between 250 and 300 new patients were diagnosed with breast cancer.

Today, within 24 to 48 hours after a woman’s first visit to the institute, she is provided with a diagnosis and a followup plan. Karni said she is “incredibly proud” of how the centre has evolved and is eager to share her knowledge with other medical centres and hospitals.

She said the greatest reward of the institute is the warmth and appreciation the staff receives from the women they help.

“The most important thing is to give support to these women, to understand their suffering and to help them get through the disease,” Karni said. “We see the growth that can come from the misery.”

Much like the work being done at the M. Fanny Comprehensive Breast Care Institute, Sunnybrook’s Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Program eases women’s anxiety by providing breast cancer diagnosis and treatment plans in just 24 hours, Rakovitch said.

State-of-the-art breast-imaging technology is used to detect cancer as early as possible, and Sunnybrook’s program offers a range of specialized clinics. Rakovitch said the experts at Sunnybrook are at the forefront of breast-cancer research, pioneering new treatments, advancing imaging technologies and improving prevention of the disease.

She said the program’s fundamental aim is to find breast cancer early and treat it with the most advanced, minimally invasive techniques so that women can get back to their lives quickly.

The evening also featured comedian Marla Lukofsky, a breast cancer survivor, and musical entertainer Ilana Waldston. Guests could bid on items in a silent auction and raffle tickets for prizes.

For more information, visit www.chw.ca.

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