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RVH officially opens newly upgraded imaging department

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As Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off, the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie officially opened its newly upgraded breast imaging department on Wednesday.

Early detection of breast cancer is essential, something Gravenhurst resident Laura Gordon knows all too well.

"I had 13 lymph nodes removed. I could've had a very different ending to this story," said Gordon.

Gordon came to RVH for imaging last year after feeling like something was wrong.

"Within 48 hours, I was sent for an ultrasound and biopsy, and within a week of that, I was diagnosed with locally advanced breast cancer," she said.

Gordon is now a breast cancer survivor, having beaten the disease last December.

RVH has taken early detection to a new level by receiving all-new, state-of-the-art breast imaging equipment.

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ont., unveils new imaging equipment on Wed., Oct. 4, 2023. (CTV News/Catalina Gillies)

"We are the regional high-risk screening hospital, so it's important for us to have the equipment that's going to provide radiologists with the best picture to be able to detect cancers earlier on," said RVH President and CEO Gail Hunt.

The new technology provides much higher image quality, reducing the likelihood of patients needing follow-up testing.

RVH sees 20,000 women through its imaging department every year.

"The other thing that's really improved is the patient experience. These machines are much more comfortable for the patient, which is a step forward, but also, the exams are a lot quicker," noted RVH Medical Imaging Director Dr. Raj Grover.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, there's a one in eight chance that a woman will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, and each year, more than 5,000 Canadian women die from the disease.

"It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You need to do your checks, you need to know your body and advocate for yourself if you notice any changes," said Gordon.

In addition to the new breast imaging machines, RVH will soon unveil another two pieces of diagnostic imaging equipment.

A PET-CT will open this fall, and a third MRI is set to be functional in 2025.

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