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Improving global best practices in breast imaging and interventions

from the May 2, 2011 issue of Connect

Improving global best practices in breast imaging and interventions

Women's College Hospital was bustling with energy in the early morning hours of April 3 in preparation for a series of breast biopsies.

But it wasn’t just a regular procedure – the biopsies were viewed by more than 250 breast cancer specialists from 47 countries. A live satellite feed carried the footage of the biopsies from Women's College Hospital in Toronto across the globe to Istanbul, Turkey where the specialists were gathered for The Breast Course™, an international four-day course teaching state-of-the-art breast cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment.

“The goal of The Breast Course™ is to advance global best practices in breast imaging and interventions by sharing knowledge of advances and recent practices in breast cancer management,” says Dr. Nathalie Duchesne, head of breast imaging, Joint Department of Medical Imaging (University Health Network, Mount Sinai Hospital and Women's College Hospital) and director and founder of The Breast Course™. “For the live cases, I needed a health-care facility that matched the spirit of the course: interdisciplinary teamwork that focuses on best standards, new ideas and a willingness to try innovative technology. Women’s College Hospital was fulfilling these criteria.”

This was the seventh year of The Breast Course™, which is the only interdisciplinary course in the world that provides interactive education on breast imaging and intervention in such a way. Faculty and attendees include radiologists, surgeons, pathologists, medical and radiation oncologists, and technologists working in the field of breast cancer.

“We’re thrilled to have been a part of this exciting and unique experience in global education,” says Dr. Heidi Roberts, site director for medical imaging at Women's College Hospital. “As a hospital dedicated to ambulatory care and women’s health, and as a centre that is leading the way in medical imaging in Ontario, Women’s College was the perfect setting to house this year’s edition of The Breast Course™.”

Dr. Duchesne performed the biopsies on patients (all personal information removed) with the assistance of four medical imaging technologists, including two from Women's College Hospital.

“What inspired me to participate was the opportunity to teach international technologists the practices we do here,” explains Thelma Matriano, charge technologist, breast imaging division at Women's College Hospital and technologist for The Breast Course’s live cases. “We’re sharing our ideas with each other to help women with breast cancer around the world.”

Matriano was among those who travelled to Istanbul with Dr. Duchesne immediately following the biopsies to join the rest of the participants in Turkey. After a mix of hands-on workshops, lectures, debates and case presentations, the results of the live biopsies were revealed for one final discussion. Attendees expressed their appreciation in being able to follow the biopsied patients from beginning to end.

“The feedback from the course has been extremely positive,” says Dr. Duchesne.
“Specialists have gone back home with information on how to make changes in their breast care practices and ultimately advance women’s health around the globe – just like Women's College Hospital is doing right here at home.”

Thelma Matriano, technologist, assisting a patient in a stereotactic vacuum guided biopsy.
Thelma Matriano, technologist, assisting a patient in a stereotactic vacuum guided biopsy.


Front row L-R : Dr. Nathalie Duchesne, Head of Breast imaging , Joint Dept of Medical Imaging , UHN,MSH WCH; Associate Professor at University of Toronto; Director The Breast Practices
Second row L-R : Film Crew; Carmina Simpao Breast Imaging Technologist, Joint Dept of Medical Imaging Women’s College Hospital ; Thelma Matriano, Joint Dept of Medical Imaging  Charge Technologist, Breast Imaging Women’s College Hospital site and Lead Technologist Breast Course 2011
Third row L-R:  film Crew; Nancy Talbot, Joint Dept of Medical Imaging Charge Technologist, Magnetic Resonance Princess Margaret Hospital; Elaine Fung, Breast Imaging Technologist,  Joint Dept of Medical Imaging Mt. Sinai Hospital; Cindy Chiu, Breast Imaging Technologist, Joint Dept of Medical Imaging Princess Margaret Hospital
Fourth row L-R : Film Crews

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