'Mammography clinic in Jerusalem surpasses UK facilities'

British First Lady Sarah Brown visits to Israel's most advanced breast cancer detection center.

sarah brown 224.88 (photo credit: Tami Porath/Hala)
sarah brown 224.88
(photo credit: Tami Porath/Hala)
On a visit to Israel's most advanced breast cancer detection center on Monday, Britain's First Lady Sarah Brown said she wished her own country had such a facility. Brown, a psychologist by profession who volunteers at a cancer center in London, spent an hour at Hala, the Rachel Nash Jerusalem Comprehensive Breast Clinic, saying it was the highlight of her short visit in Israel. She was accompanied by Lady Sharon Harel-Cohen, an Israeli friend of Hala who is married to Sir Ronald Cohen, a prominent British Jewish businessman, and is the daughter of the late Yossi Harel, commander of the famed "illegal immigrant" ship, Exodus, that prompted the UN in 1947 to vote in favor of the creation of the State of Israel. Also with her was Talya Lador-Fresher, the charge d'affaires of the Israeli Embassy in London. Brown was greeted by Rabbi Michoel Sorotzkin, the founder and director of Hala. The clinic has examined more than 80,000 women since its founding in 1997. The clinic is a one-stop center for breast cancer diagnosis that uses advanced digital mammography, computer-aided detection, ultrasound and other means to diagnose tumors and reduce a patient's tension by taking immediate stereotactic biopsies that allow results to be returned in the same day, a process that usually takes several weeks. Brown discussed the latest advances in breast cancer diagnosis with South African-born Dr. Shalom Strano, one of 25 Hala staffers, who is regarded as one of the world's leading mammography experts. Three of the four health funds - Clalit, Maccabi and Leumit - refer women members over the age of 50 (or over 40 if there is a family history) for periodic examinations at their expense. Of some 13,000 patients last year, more than 400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and sent for treatment. Hala's advanced technologies and specially trained staffers have often diagnosed breast tumors in patients whose cancer was missed in other mammography clinics. Brown, 45, asked Sorotzkin and Strano about what Hala offers that other clinics do not. Dr. Orit Wimpfheimer, a specialist who immigrated from New York, where she was a top mammographer at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, told The Jerusalem Post that while her previous center was of high quality, it doesn't compare to the high level at Hala. "I often felt I was punishing patients in New York, because a diagnosis could not be provided immediately and as accurately as here," she said. Digital mammography allows manipulation of images for improved evaluation, while its computer-aided detection automatically scans them and alerts the doctor to take a second look by electronically tagging questionable areas. Judith Richter, co-owner of Medinol, a maker of cardiac stents, was also present when Brown visited and announced that she would finance a breast exam at Hala for all relevant staffers in her company to promote their health.