Gold Plays a Role in Innovative Technology for Breast Cancer Care

Eldorado Gold is very proud to announce that it is supporting the Providence Breast Centre at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital in Vancouver to help improve the experience of women undergoing breast cancer surgery in the province. Every year, approximately 3,500 women in British Columbia (BC) will be diagnosed with breast cancer and the Providence Breast Centre is on the front lines of improving patient experiences and outcomes. With Eldorado’s support, the Providence Breast Centre has purchased an innovative technology that replaces a time-consuming pre-operative localization procedure with one that is more comfortable for patients and enables the Centre to perform even more life-saving surgeries. Gold is a key component in this new technology.   

In breast cancer surgery, precision is essential. Surgeons need to know the exact location of the tumour so that they can accurately make their incisions to remove cancer cells. Historically, radiologists have marked the location of the tumour by inserting long thin metal wire(s) into the breast on the morning of the surgery. This pre-operative procedure has many drawbacks, including the discomfort that comes from waiting for surgery after the wires have been inserted, which could be many hours due to scheduling constraints. 

A new technology offers both convenience and efficiency. With the MOLLI Surgical System, a technician inserts a 3.2 mm gold-coated magnetic ‘seed’ directly into the tumour to act as a marker making it easier to locate. This 15-minute procedure can be done the day of the surgery or up to 30 days before surgery and, due to the gold composition of the seeds, there is no health risk to the patient. During surgery, the oncological surgeon then uses a detection wand to locate the seed and remove the tumour more precisely.  

A leader in its field, the Providence Breast Centre performs more breast cancer surgeries than any other facility in BC and is the first to introduce the MOLLI Surgical System in the province. In addition to improving the surgical experience for patients, the advanced technology has enabled the centre to treat more patients by improving the flow and access to the operating rooms, by de-coupling the two stages of seed implantation and actual surgery, which is not possible when using the fine-wire method of localization. 

Eldorado Gold is proud to support the Providence Breast Centre with funds for the MOLLI Surgical System,” says Lisa Ower, Executive Vice President, Chief People Office and External Affairs. “One of Eldorado’s community investment focus areas is health and well-being, and we are proud to support innovation in women’s health care. This new system also demonstrates the important role of gold in advancing innovations in technology and health care. 

“Eldorado Gold’s donation has helped secure the MOLLI Surgical System that will greatly improve the localization experience for breast patients as well as surgical outcomes,” says Dr. Amy Bazzarelli, General Surgeon and Breast Surgical Oncologist at Providence Breast Centre. “This patient-centered technology that uses a gold-plated ‘seed’ is first-of-kind for our province and will help transform breast cancer care and provide greater access to health services. 

Gold’s unique physical properties make it an ideal material in many medical applications, from diagnostic tests to cancer treatment. To learn more about gold and its medical applications, view Transforming Life, the fourth episode of the World Gold Council’s documentary ‘The Golden Thread’. 

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