New breast cancer clinic opens in Kamloops

Interior Health’s new Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH in Kamloops will reduce the wait time for a breast cancer diagnosis, and decrease anxiety for breast health patients. Rae Fawcett, RIH Foundation CEO Heidi Coleman, patient care coordinator Mia Dong, and patient Vanessa Worthington pose at the clinic. Photo courtesy of the Interior Health Authority

Interior Health’s new Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic at Royal Inland Hospital (RIH in Kamloops will reduce the wait time for a breast cancer diagnosis, and decrease anxiety for breast health patients.

“Interior Health is pleased to launch this model of care at Royal Inland Hospital – a specialized and integrated clinic that will help decrease delays for cancer diagnosis, speed referrals to surgical service when necessary, and provide efficient, safe, quality, and timely care for breast health patients,” John O’Fee, Interior Health Board chairman, said in a statement. “I want to thank Rae Fawcett, her family, and the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation for the generous donation that made this breast health clinic become a reality.”

The road to a cancer diagnosis, or news that a suspected diagnosis is not cancerous, can involve multiple appointments and follow-up consultations for patients with a family physician, mammography technologist, radiologist, and surgeon.

The statement said the Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic has been designed as a ‘one-stop shop’ for breast health care that helps reduce the time patients wait for referrals and consultations. Here, patients have the opportunity to access a single-visit triple assessment, when appropriate, of clinical examination, diagnostic imaging, and tissue sampling or biopsy. This coordinated care pathway helps speed up the time for tests, results and, if necessary, a surgical referral.

“I got involved with the establishment of this clinic after my own breast cancer diagnosis. As a patient, I recognized how difficult it could be to navigate the breast cancer diagnostic system,” says Dr. Liz Ewart, a family physician who was instrumental in the creation of the Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic. “I’m so pleased that we have been able to open this clinic, which will make the breast cancer diagnostic system in our community more efficient, easier to navigate, more supportive, and less scary for those who have to go through it. I can’t thank Rae Fawcett, the Fawcett family, and the community enough for supporting the opening of this clinic.”

Rae Fawcett and her husband, Ron, are long-time Kamloops business leaders and philanthropists who have worked tirelessly to achieve their vision of a united community in which people make significant, long-lasting changes that will benefit the lives of their neighbours. The Fawcetts have contributed to many Kamloops institutions and programs, including Thompson Rivers University, the Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops, the Kamloops Symphony, the B.C. Wildlife Park and, of course, the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.

Improving access to health care is one of the Fawcetts’ passions, and particularly access to women’s health programming, given a history of breast cancer in their family. As a result, they donated $1 million to the RIH Foundation, to help create both the Rae Fawcett Breast Health Clinic and Rae Fawcett Simulation Centre at Royal Inland Hospital.

“The breast health clinic has already exceeded my expectations in the very short time it has been open. I have heard great feedback thus far, and am honoured to be a part of the process to ease patient wait times for diagnosis,” says Rae Fawcett.

“The opening of this clinic is a very exciting moment for the Foundation and our donors. Seeing this vision become a reality feels like a great accomplishment for Kamloops,” Heidi Coleman, CEO of the RIH Foundation, said. “We are so grateful to Rae, who truly understood the need for this clinic in our community.”

The breast health clinic opened at RIH on May 30. It will run three days per week, initially accepting referrals from BC Cancer’s Screening Mammography Program, before expanding to acceptance of family physician referrals from the Kamloops region.