Desperate to cope with the 52,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Russia every year, a delegation from the Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA) spent time at Jerusalem’s Hala-Rachel Nash Jerusalem Breast Clinic, Israel’s only comprehensive freestanding facility for the diagnosis of breast tumors.

The senior delegation was led by Kaneva Elena Petrovna, the deputy chief of FMBA’s department of the organization of medical care in Moscow. It also included heads of hospital oncology departments and other high-ranking professionals involved in breast cancer in Russia.

They said they wanted to develop an optimal model for a regional program on breast cancer screening in Russia’s small towns and were extremely impressed with what they saw in Hala.

Rabbi Michoel Sorotzkin, the founder and chairman of the nonprofit clinic, presented the delegation with facts and figures about what the clinic does: Over 150,000 women visited Hala since 1997 and half of those visits were for early detection screening. In 2012 alone, some 18,987 women visited the clinic.

Sorotzkin said benefits from Hala’s comprehensive model and screening program had a 31 percent higher detection rate, in comparison to fragmented diagnostic models used elsewhere, and that unnecessary procedures for healthy woman (false-positive) were reduced by 48 percent.

The Russian professionals said they wanted to develop an “optimal model of a regional breast cancer screening program.”

They added that every year, breast cancer is increasingly found in younger women – even those under the age of 40.

If the model is successful, they said, it could be implemented in other Russian regions.

The guests said that “due to the large numbers of women from all segments of population who have been screened in [the Hala] institute over the past decade, [its] excellent performance and reputation, [it is] a perfect choice for being a model we wish to clone in Russia.

The group of participants were very keen in examining [Hala’s] state of the art technological equipment and receiving preliminary guidance from [the] physicians and professionals as to implementation of a state wide screening program.”

FMBA is responsible for organization of a specialized health and epidemiological supervision and for medical and sanitary support of the workers employed in the hazardous industries. They said they were “very impressed” with what they saw at Hala and that the tour was “the highlight of our visit.”

Dr. Natali Loubashevski, a senior breast imaging specialist at Hala, presented data on its screening program, which is expected to lead to an exchange of ideas and protocols.

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