Dr. Allen Hayashi: Why MRI can make all the difference.
Before we had access to the advanced MRI technology that exists today, doctors often had to make educated assumptions when creating a patient’s treatment plan. In the case of helping someone with cancer, like Melodie, we might have ended up performing an operation that was either more than necessary, or unfortunately discover we had left some of the disease behind.
Keeping up with advanced equipment, and having it readily accessible means diagnosis and treatment plans are also up-to-date. I would never want to go back to a time where such tools were not available.
If you can imagine an anatomy book with fine details of the human body, MRI helps us come really close to viewing that same level of detail beneath a patient’s skin. The clarity of those images allow us to see all the characteristics of a tumour, before we do anything surgically. Where an X-Ray would only show one image from one angle, MRI is a series of images from different angles that bring to life a very detailed picture.
In Melodie’s case, MRI allowed us—me and a team of radiologists, oncologists, and nurses—to see a large tumour in her right breast almost four centimetres wide. We decided that given the size and the type of cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma), surgery at Victoria General Hospital would be in Melodie’s best interest.
I worked very closely with Dr. Ho Man Cheng, who is a breast reconstructive surgeon, to craft a surgical plan. Because Melodie had a sizable cancerous tumour, we had to remove the tumour itself, as well as a safe margin of surrounding tissue. The aftercare for Melodie’s surgery was twofold: to ensure she was cancer free and that her incisions healed properly. I feel Melodie is on a great path forward.
MRI is such a key tool for so many areas of care, from neurosurgical to orthopedic, and of course in the treatment of many types of cancer. In supporting the Victoria Hospitals Foundation, you are helping to ensure patients have access to the best in imaging now and into the next decade.
Before technology like MRI existed, we did a great job with the tools we had, but our hospitals—and our communities—are stronger as a result of this modern equipment. While we don’t use MRI on every patient, when it is called for, it can make all the difference. Thank you for making all the difference.
—Dr. Allen Hayashi
Pediatric and Adult General Surgeon, Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals