Mammography team
Michael Garron Hospital's mammography team

MGH screening mammography: early detection and follow-up saves lives

Every day, more than 70 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer. But screening mammography can help find breast cancer before any symptoms develop.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and a reminder that every day more than 70 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer. About 1 in 8 Canadian women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime, and 1 in 31 will die from it.

The good news is that screening mammography can help find breast cancer before any symptoms develop. And when breast cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better.

Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is a part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP), which provides high-quality breast cancer screening throughout Ontario. The OBSP recommends that women between the ages of 50-74 get screened every one or two years with mammography.

State of the art screening equipment

Thanks to the Garron family’s $50-million gift, MGH’s diagnostic imaging department has transformed the way services are provided there with its new CT scanner, MRI and fluoroscopy equipment. The hospital’s state-of-the-art diagnostic breast screening equipment provides a clearer, more accurate image, and a smaller radiation dose.

It is fully digital, which means the patient's image can be stored and shared just as any digital file. If needed, surgeons can access it, along with a radiologist report, from anywhere. Our mammography equipment also has a feature called "tomography" that helps to create high-quality images in complex cases such as high density tissue. 

The booking process is quick and seamless.

“Patients can book their own appointments by calling or emailing MGH diagnostic imaging directly – they don’t need a requisition form,” says Tara Matthews, booking office lead hand. “And they’ll be seen quickly, often the next day, or even the same day.”

The team also has plans to introduce an online booking process later this year, which will make setting up an appointment even easier for patients. 

An integrated model of care

By choosing Michael Garron Hospital for their mammography screening, patients get access to an integrated model of care that includes the mammography department along with access to the surgical Breast Diagnostics Clinic, as needed. If a patient has a positive finding during their screening test, they are immediately contacted by the team to arrange for a ‘call back’.

This call-back protocol is an important patient benefit of Michael Garron Hospital’s model of care. Often when a test is done outside the hospital walls, referring a patient to a hospital can take a bit more time. And in some cases, direct call-backs and referrals done by MGH teams can save days from a positive finding on screening mammography to biopsy and further steps. Sometimes, this can make a real difference.

Michael Garron Hospital’s Breast Diagnostic Clinic is a highly specialized surgical team that includes a surgical oncologist, a family physician with breast oncology focus, a clinical navigator and nurses who closely collaborate with radiologists and pathologists. Patients meet with a surgeon on their first visit, and stay with our team throughout their journey.

“We work to ensure that a patient and their doctor will have a diagnosis of the problem within seven days of a visit to the unit,” says Dr. Hany Sawires, Surgical Oncologist at MGH. “Patients benefit from a personal and supportive relationship from day one, and receive vital care much more quickly than other centres; a treatment reduction time of 1-2 weeks.

“Women come to us from the larger hospital settings to benefit from the compassionate, personalized and family oriented care you’re helping us provide, closer to home”, says Dr. Sawires. ”After all, we’re not just treating the patient – we’re treating the family too.”

“I’m passionate about mammography. One of the most rewarding things about my job is hearing patients tell me that was the best mammogram they ever had: efficient and painless,” says Diane Gibson, MGH Senior Mammography Technologist.

Community support for the MGH Breast Diagnostic Clinic 

Since 2011, the LOVE YOU  by Shoppers Drug Mart program has raised and donated over $68 million to charitable organizations benefiting women’s health in Canada, with 100% of donations going directly to charity. This year, proceeds from local participating stores will go to support Michael Garron Hospital’s Breast Diagnostic Clinic. From October 5th- November 1st, customers can visit their local participating Shoppers stores and donate $2 or more to support women’s health in the community.

Participating stores:

Danforth & Coxwell Danforth & Main Wellwise Danforth & Main Danforth & Pape
Pape & Cosburn Queen & Carlaw The Beaches (2000 Queen St. E) Leslie & Lakeshore
Woodbine & O'Connor Bayview & Fleming Bayview & Broadway Hudson's Bay Centre
Sherbourne & Howard       

For more information on Michael Garron Hospital's Ontario Breast Screening Program: 

Visit www.tehn.ca/mammo 

Michael Garron Hospital OBSP Mammography Screening Patient Line: 416-469-6580 x2334

Email: @email