Rapid access breast cancer diagnostic clinic

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 51, No. 8, October 2009, page(s) 356 Pulsimeter

In May, Providence Health Care opened the Rapid Access Breast Clinic at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital (MSJ) in Vancouver. The clinic follows European Society of Mastology standards and serves as a single point of intake where diagnostic testing for breast cancer is coordinated and organized. The clinic will provide expedited access to diagnostic evaluation for patients with either of the following:
• An abnormality detected through routine annual screening mammogram (only if performed at MSJ’s Screening Mammography Centre).
• A physical breast abnormality as determined by a Vancouver Coastal Health Area physician.

The Rapid Access Breast Clinic uses imaging techniques such as digital diagnostic mammography and breast ultrasound followed by tissue sampling modalities such as ultrasound-guided core biopsy, fine-needle aspiration, and stereotactic core biopsy (outsourced) in a streamlined pathway to diagnosis. The goal of the clinic is to obtain a definite diagnosis within 21 calendar days from the time of referral. Since the clinic’s opening, the average wait time for diagnosis has been 7 days.

The clinic’s multidisciplinary team is composed of breast imaging radiologists, breast surgeons, a nurse navigator, a nurse practitioner, and a general practitioner. Pathology services are also an integral part of the diagnostic process.

The clinic also coordinates further diagnostics (such as breast MRI), medical oncology consults, radiation oncology consults, BC Cancer Agency consults, and referrals for other breast services (radiation and chemotherapy), avoiding the need for patients to go back to their primary care physician for the referral. The clinic also provides direct referrals to MSJ’s breast reconstruction program, providing immediate or postsurgical breast reconstruction by a plastic surgeon.

Referrals can be made by the following methods:
• Direct phone call (604 877-8511) or fax referral to the clinic (604 877-8506). All subsequent appointments will be coordinated by the Clinic staff).
• Direct phone call to fax referral to the Radiology Department. Patients referred for diagnostic investigation will be automatically identified and tracked by the Breast Clinic.

Call 604 877-8511 with questions or referrals.