Beaumont Breast Centre, of which Breast Cancer Ireland is a major donor, officially open its doors on Friday 3rd June, with Mrs Sabina Higgins present as Guest of Honour – making the First Lady of Ireland one of the very first to step inside the doors of this world class facility, that will benefit over 10,000 Irish women per year, for decades to come.
This brand-new Breast Centre, which cost circa €6m, is spread across three floors in a purpose-built facility in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. The building incorporates eight consulting suites, five imaging rooms with the very latest tomosynthesis 3D mammography and breast ultrasound equipment, a prosthesis and post mastectomy underwear fitting suite, and a dedicated counselling suite. The Cancer Clinical Trials Unit which coordinates and facilitates national and international clinical trials / translational research is on the top floor with offices for clerical staff, clinical nurse specialists and data managers. A separate board room will allow the entire multidisciplinary team to discuss personalised patient treatment plans.
Professor Arnold Hill, Breast Cancer Ireland Chairman and Professor of Surgery, Beaumont Hospital and a driving force behind the development of the new Breast Centre said “What’s most important is that there are a number of aspects of the building that will fundamentally change breast cancer care for the better. With everything in the one location, including imaging and examination facilities, along with a fully integrated Cancer Clinical Trials Unit under the one roof, this is the key to advancing breast cancer care. Through clinical trials we can learn what is going to prolong survival and this will allow us to defeat this disease in the long term”. He continued “One such trial that we’re particularly excited by is in the area of HER2 positive breast cancer, funded by Breast Cancer Ireland via the 100k in 30 Days initiative. This trial involves a particular drug that is relatively non-toxic and allows us to reduce, potentially, the amount of chemotherapy that women might need, while achieving a 100% response rate. This would, in effect, mean a transformation in the outcome for this particular subtype of breast cancer. This new concept of “chemotherapy de-escalation” whereby you reduce the amount of chemotherapy by only giving it to those who will benefit from it for the shortest possible time represents a major breakthrough in treatment. Through constant research we can be immensely optimistic for the 450 patients that will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year in this building”
Dr Deirdre Duke, Consultant Radiologist, Beaumont Hospital added “It is a long awaited yet wonderful milestone to officially open the doors of Beaumont Breast Centre today. The Beaumont Breast Centre is one of eight symptomatic breast services in Ireland, and is part of the Beaumont RCSI Cancer Centre. This facility will allow us to provide the highest level of quality service for patients with breast symptoms in a holistic environment, with a focus on patient comfort and dignity. This project, which has been in the pipeline for over 10 years, has been made possible by the consistent and ongoing fundraising efforts of stakeholders like Breast Cancer Ireland, Beaumont Hospital Foundation, and Beaumont Hospital Cancer Research and Development Trust, with initiatives such as the Breast Cancer Ireland’s Great Pink Run, and the “100k in 30 Days” initiative, which the people of Ireland have supported over the years”
Commenting on this momentous occasion, Aisling Hurley, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland commented “Breast Cancer Ireland has been consistently fundraising for well over a decade now, so as a stakeholder, we are immensely proud to be part of today’s opening of this wonderful facility offering truly translational medicine, with bench to bedside care for breast cancer patients (both male and female). The integrated Clinical Trials Unit within the Breast Centre is crucial in that it aligns with our vision of accelerating the speed of research discovery through ongoing collaboration with the very best breast cancer research experts in the world, progressing more quickly through to clinical trial stage, and the development of newer more effective drug therapies. In turn this will ensure greater survival and lower mortality rates amongst patients and ultimately realise our goal of transforming this disease into a long-term treatable illness”.
1.7 million women worldwide face a diagnosis of breast cancer each year, of whom 460,000 are in the EU and 3,800 are in Ireland. However, data shows that survival rates are improving year on year, currently standing at 85% with mortality rates reducing by 2% each year, and importantly, local control of breast cancer is improving year on year.