Personal Story - Patient Advice Influences Breast Cancer in the Kingston Region

Being diagnosed with cancer and having to undergo treatment can be a daunting and stressful experience. If this happens to you or a loved one, knowing that the best possible experience and technology are easily accessible is comforting. Unfortunately, until recently, this was not always the case for patients with breast cancer in the Kingston region.

A few years ago, Vivian Bethell, a local breast cancer survivor, was asked to be a patient advisor on the committee overseeing the development of the Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) Breast Imaging Kingston facility. The state-of-the-art facility opened in March, bringing together breast imaging services and procedures from multiple health-care sites. This has streamlined care for patients and transformed breast health in southeastern Ontario.

“The new facility addresses many of the concerns I had about my previous experience,” says Vivian. “The building and equipment are obviously state-of-the-art. It was much easier to get to from the 401 highway than I had imagined, there’s plenty of free parking and there was basically no wait time. My recent mammogram was swift and efficient and the results were received quickly. It is a truly amazing facility!”

A significant portion of the funding for the $7 million site was generously donated by Brit Smith and Homestead Landholdings, and the players and sponsors of the Rose of Hope Golf Tournament, organized by the Rose of Hope Committee at the Cataraqui Golf and Country Club. With patient advisors like Vivian also involved in its development, Breast Imaging Kingston truly highlights the powerful impact that community members can have on local health care.

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

“From the beginning, the concerns that we had as patient advisors were heard and had an influence on the design of the facility,” says Vivian. “This included creating a private environment where patients would feel safe and comfortable. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of its development.”