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The first step in conquering cancer is actually knowing that you have the disease. Time is of the essence, so an early diagnosis and timely treatment increase the chances of a positive outcome.

That is why screening and genetic testing are so important when it comes to breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women. Regular screenings lead to earlier detection, which enables the clinical teams at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre to determine the best course of treatment right away.

“The CIBC Breast Assessment Centre is an Ontario Breast Screening Program site which offers expert care to women with breast concerns,” explains Kowuthamie Tharma, a Genetic Counsellor at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. “It’s recommended that a woman at average risk begins screening with mammograms every two years starting at age 50.”

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The CIBC Breast Assessment Centre at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is celebrating five years of being the most comprehensive assessment facility of its type in the region.

“The concept behind the opening of the Centre in 2014 was to provide a single point of coordinated access for women who require diagnostic assessment for breast concerns,” explains Kathleen Bell, Clinical Manager of the CIBC Breast Assessment Centre.

“With the promise of many more milestones to come, we look forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.” – Kathleen Bell

Specialists from multiple disciplines collaborate to ensure that all patients receive the individualized care they require.

“It’s extremely gratifying to work one-on-one with patients and see them through the different stages of their journey,” says Nurse Navigator Elizabeth Vandesompele.

Technology of tomorrow

The Centre stays on the leading edge of technology and the team is looking forward to new equipment that will allow for digital breast tomosynthesis (sometimes referred to a 3D mammography) and contrast-enhanced mammography in the near future.

“We are pleased to offer a wide range of breast screening and assessment services to women, including new and advanced technologies, in order to provide the most accurate and timely information possible,” says Senior Technologist Kathie Lock.

“With the promise of many more milestones to come, we look forward to seeing what the next five years will bring,” says Kathleen.

HAMILTON — The CIBC Breast Assessment Centre is celebrating Concession Streetfest on June 8 with an Open House. Visitors can tour the Centre, meet its friendly, welcoming staff and enjoy refreshments, treats and giveaways. The Breast Assessment Centre is located at 711 Concession Street, between the Juravinski Hospital and the Juravinski Cancer Centre. Open house hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This facility is one of the most advanced assessment centres of its kind in Canada. Women and men with concerns about breast health are referred there for assessment by its team of experts. By consolidating the expertise of radiologists, surgeons and pathologists in one location, the Centre reduces the need for multiple appointments and minimizes the time spent waiting for test results.

The Centre is also an Ontario Breast Screening Program site, where women ages 50 – 74 can have their routine mammograms done. Mammograms for women in this age group are recommended every two years as part of a healthy lifestyle. Women attending the Open House are welcome to book their next mammogram appointment.

“Patients can often experience anxiety leading up to their visit to the Centre, whether they’re coming in for routine screening through the OBSP or they have symptoms or a family history that require a closer look by our team of experts,” said Kathleen Bell, the Centre’s manager. “Visiting the Centre, and learning more about services here, can hopefully help alleviate some of the stress they may be experiencing.”

Bell also encourages anyone interested in learning more about breast health and the Centre’s services to check out its new website, The website, also launching on June 8, features helpful, easy-to-understand information on the Centre’s wide range of services.

The website is aimed at:

  • Women and men referred to the Breast Assessment Centre by their healthcare providers. These patients may have a close family history of breast cancer or are experiencing symptoms that require further investigation.
  • Women getting a routine mammogram through the Ontario Breast Screening Program site at the Centre.
  • Healthcare providers looking for helpful resources such as referral forms.

“We’re very pleased to provide this important online resource for the public, breast patients and the healthcare providers who care for them,” said Bell. The website, made possible thanks to funding from the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation, includes information about the Centre’s services, breast health and awareness and understanding one’s diagnosis. There’s an FAQ/Resources section for the general public, as well as a resource section especially for healthcare providers. This  section is ideal for family doctors and nurse practitioners who refer patients to the Breast Assessment Centre, and includes a wide variety of resources including referral forms.

Photos of staff – including technologists, genetic counsellors and physicians – are featured throughout the site. “Visitors to our website will see the same friendly, welcoming faces when they arrive for their appointments,” said Bell.

For more information, or media inquiries, please contact:

Lise Diebel
Promotion/Communications Coordinator
Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program
Office: 905-521-2100, ext. 79280
Cell: 905-741-6317