First-of-its-kind mammo system in
– North York General Hospital announced it is acquiring three new
digital mammography machines, including two with advanced tomosynthesis
technology, a 3D technique that was recently approved for use in Canada.
The hospital becomes the first centre in Ontario to implement mammo
systems using tomosynthesis.
“We are excited to add this technology to our diagnostic capabilities,”
said Dr. Elizabeth LaMere, Chief and Medical Director of Medical
Imaging. “In addition to the benefits of digital mammography,
tomosynthesis is a technique that has the potential to improve detection
of cancers and reduce false positive findings.”
The acquisition of the machines is being made possible by a $2 million
gift from Charlotte and Lewis Steinberg (pictured above). The philanthropic donation will
ensure that patients have access to the most advanced mammography
Tomosynthesis technology is the latest innovation in breast cancer
screening and diagnosis, improving the chances for early detection and
identifying breast cancer tumours as small as a few millimetres.
It is especially useful for tumour detection in younger patients and/or
patients with dense breasts. The machines are state-of-the-art Hologic
Selenia Dimensions systems.
Digital mammography with tomosynthesis complements standard mammograms
and digital mammograms as an important tumour diagnostic tool. Research
shows the potential benefits to patients include fewer unnecessary
biopsies, fewer recalls and faster, more accurate diagnoses.
“This technology is an important step forward in helping to improve
early detection of breast tumours, which in turn will help improve
quality of care,” said Mr. Steinberg. “We are delighted to be able to
support North York General Hospital’s breast cancer services in this
With this $2 million gift securing the purchase of three digital
mammography machines - two with tomosynthesis imaging technology and one
with biopsy capability - the Steinbergs are now the largest individual
philanthropic donors in North York General Hospital’s history. “In these
turbulent economic times, the Steinbergs’ generosity inspires us all to
embrace the health of our community,” said Charles E. Beall, Chair,
North York General Hospital Foundation, Board of Governors.
Tomosynthesis is a cutting-edge technology that takes multiple angled
low-dose images of the patient’s breast in an arc pattern, which are
then reconstructed into a series of up to one hundred thin (one
millimetre) high-resolution slices that can be displayed dynamically,
creating a three-dimensional effect.
This approach eliminates tissue overlap and noise found in currently
employed digital and traditional mammography.
“We are deeply grateful for the continued support and exceptional
generosity of Charlotte and Lewis Steinberg,” said Bonnie Adamson,
President and CEO, North York General Hospital. “Our staff are committed
to providing the highest level of care to our patients and their
families - this new technology will further enhance our ability to offer
superior breast cancer screening and diagnosis.”
The three digital mammography machines, two with tomosynthesis
capability, will be operational by fall 2009. This additional imaging
technique will improve diagnosis and detection of breast cancer for all
of North York General Hospital’s patients referred to the hospital for
assessment, which, last year, totalled almost 9,000 people.
This includes patients referred by their family physician for routine
screening, patients referred through the Ontario Breast Screening
Program (OBSP) at the hospital’s Branson site, as well as those referred
for a diagnostic assessment, encompassing patients referred to the BMO
Financial Group Breast Diagnostic Centre, which opened at the hospital’s
General site in 1997.
This centre was one of Canada’s first centres for rapid assessment of
breast patients, offering a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis of
The Steinbergs have a long history with North York General Hospital, and
have supported many important programs at the hospital, including the
Charlotte and Lewis Steinberg Emergency Department, the Genetics program
and providing funding for the breast services’ first sentinel node
Thanks to the Steinbergs’ generosity, North York General Hospital has
enhanced ability to purchase cutting-edge equipment and offer treatment
options well ahead of other Ontario hospitals. In recognition of the
Steinbergs’ gift, North York General Hospital’s Breast Services will be
named Karen, Heather and Lynn Steinberg Breast Services.
About North York General Hospital
North York General Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto,
is one of Canada’s leading community teaching hospitals. We offer our
culturally diverse community a wide range of acute care, ambulatory and
long-term care services across three sites. The hospital embraces health
by providing innovative and compassionate care for the whole family at
every stage of life. In September 2008, North York General Hospital was
identified by Cancer Care Ontario as the first hospital in Ontario to
meet all its targets for cancer surgery wait times.