New state-of-the-art facility supports breast health in Southeastern Ontario

The new Breast Imaging Kingston facility on John Marks Avenue in Kingston’s east end. Photo by Jessica Foley.

The first thing visitors to the Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) new Breast Imaging Kingston (BIK) facility will notice is how welcoming and bright the new building is.

The state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot complex brings together breast imaging services and procedures from the Hotel Dieu Hospital and the former Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) sites under one roof. Located on John Marks Avenue in Kingston’s east end, the facility boasts new, up-to-date equipment including a novel prone breast biopsy table.

“This is really the one-stop-shop approach to care for this patient population,” said KHSC’s Director of Imaging Services, Karen Pearson. “Not only is this facility really best in class in the province, but it will provide a much more streamlined service for patients because they won’t need to travel between multiple locations for care. The facility also provides easy access to the 401 for patients travelling from outside of Kingston.”

A tour of the facility revealed spacious rooms and an abundance of natural light, something severely lacking in the breast imaging location at Hotel Dieu Hospital. In keeping with the welcoming atmosphere, facility manager Kelly Hubbard emphasized that comfort is paramount at the facility.

She noted that patients who visit the facility aren’t there for the joy of having a mammogram, so providing a bright and welcoming space was very important. Local art adorns the walls, and a wall of recognition for the Rose of Hope committee graces a waiting room wall.

The Rose of Hope committee, along with women from the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club, are important annual donors and have contributed $2.1 million to breast cancer care as part of a multi-year pledge through their annual golf tournament.

The BIK facility has a price tag of $7 million, and a significant portion of the funding was donated by Brit Smith and Homestead Landholdings Foundation. Their $8 million donation was to be split between the BIK facility and the installation of Southeastern Ontario’s first positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, which will be located at the Kingston General Hospital site sometime in the future, KHSC said.

“We are truly privileged to share a community with individuals who so generously support KHSC’s staff, physicians, patients, and families,” said KHSC President and CEO Dr. David Pichora. “I can truly say that without the visionary leadership and support of Brit Smith, Homestead Landholdings and the Rose of Hope committee, this facility would never have become a reality.”

Dr. Pichora addressing the media as well as donors and representatives at the opening event at BIK. Photo by Jessica Foley.

According to a release from KHSC, BIK’s focus will be on individuals requiring screening and precision diagnosis of breast cancer, and boasts three brand new 3D digital mammography and three brand new ultrasound units. The facility will also offer revolutionary and patient-friendly Magseed for breast lesion localization, contrast-enhanced mammography, Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), and a prone breast biopsy table.

With radiologists on site, patients may be able to combine what would have been multiple appointments into one visit, which, Hubbard said, would lessen the stress on individuals dealing with breast cancer and treatment.

Hubbard shared that in a significant case of breast cancer, a patient may have as many as 11 appointments and specialist visits throughout the beginning of their diagnosis. “If we can eliminate even one of those visits, that patient’s life and cancer journey will be improved,” she said.

The facility also has room to grow. In preparation for a future expansion, including on-site MRI diagnostics, there is an unfinished area which will house the machine, as well as another set of waiting and consultation rooms.

This combination of equipment under one roof is unique to all of Canada, KHSC stated, noting that BIK will also serve as a showcase site for industry partners and a training hub for physicians and technologists alike.

To learn more about Breast Imaging Kingston, and to take a virtual tour, visit www.kingstonhsc.ca/bik

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