BTHC Foundation Chair Debra Enns, Dr. Elizabeth Thompson, Dr. Mary Jacob, BTHC Foundation Executive Director Shannon Samatte-Folkett, pose with the new breast probe at Boundary Trails Health Centre donated by the foundation. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)
A new breast probe, donated to the Boundary Trails Health Centre, will make surgeries less invasive, and prevent an extra trip to Winnipeg for southern Manitoba residents dealing with breast cancer.
The Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation gave the $69,000 probe to fulfill a local request.
“The doctors were using a piece of equipment that was on loan to use from Steinbach,” Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation chairperson Debra Enns said. “They needed it to be replaced and they came to us saying that they were in desperate need of this piece of equipment.”
The foundation held a fundraising dinner specifically for the probe last October, and Enns said they had great support.
“October being breast cancer month, it tied in perfectly with what we were doing,” she said. “We raised $77,000 of the $69,000 we actually used to buy this piece of equipment.”
Enns said they’re happy that the probe is now being used.
“We are very, very pleased to say that our breast program is healthy and ready and the doctors are ecstatic about having this equipment,” she said.
General surgeon Dr. Elizabeth Thompson said the probe is necessary.
“This probe in particular allows us to be able to do state of the art breast cancer surgery at Boundary Trails without patients needing to go to Winnipeg for surgery,” she said. “It allows us to detect the most important lymph nodes in the armpit to tell us if we think the cancer has already started to spread.”
Thompson said the probe changes what breast cancer surgery is all about.
“What breast cancer surgery used to be was a significant amount of surgery, where you took a lot of lymph nodes out of the armpit, which had a fairly high risk of leaving women with potential complications,” she said. “Now that we have a probe, what we can do is detect one, two or three lymph nodes that we can take, as opposed to 14 or 15 which poses a much, much smaller risk to patients post operatively.”
The procedure, called a Sentinel lymph node biopsy, is a big tool in fighting breast cancer.
“We could do the surgery with all the lymph nodes here before, but we couldn’t do detection in surgery,” she said.
The Boundary Trails Health Centre Foundation is involved in many projects including palliative care, spiritual care, cancer care, dialysis and more.
“There’s always a need for funds,” Enns said.
For more information or to donate, BTHCF has an office at the Boundary Trails Health Centre. They can also be found at bthcfoundation.com.