Surgeon Dr. Crystal Pallister – former competitive synchronized swimmer, accomplished ballet dancer, and mother of 7-year-old twin girls –  certainly is a hardworking woman. So it is no surprise when you hear she was the driving force behind the creation and development of the Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) Breast Health Centre, 10 years ago, in June 2007.

As one of the first clinics of its kind in the region, the Breast Health Centre brings together an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals that provide diagnosis, surgery and treatment, in one place.  On June 19, 2017, it will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary.

And over the last 10 years the Breast Health Centre has improved access to services for individuals in the community and reduced wait times, focusing on breast care. It has grown significantly, in 2007/2008 it started with four physicians and has grown to six physicians that care for patients in the community.

MSH had over 3,200 breast health centre patient visits in 2016/17 and has successfully reduced the wait time between finding a lump to surgery to just three weeks. Over 13,100 mammograms, 5,800 breast ultrasounds, and 280 breast cancer surgeries have been performed at the centre.

And the physician leading the way is Dr. Crystal Pallister. As a general surgeon, she joined the medical staff at MSH in the summer of 2003. Since then she has been a staple in the hospital. A dynamic and innovative surgeon, with respect to breast cancer treatment at the hospital, Pallister was instrumental in the establishment of the hospital’s Breast Health Centre. And since its inception, she has ensured that an extremely high calibre of care is delivered to every patient. While providing much-needed care to her patients she exudes compassion which makes her and the MSH Breast Health Centre the choice for many patients in the community.

“Patients are smart and well-informed. They want the truth. So I try to empower and work together with them to provide the best care possible,” says Dr. Pallister.

Local family physicians in the Markham and Stouffville area can refer patients to the Breast Health Centre by visiting www.msh.on.ca/breasthealthcentre.

Story by Yeena Peng

Photo: Dr. Crystal Pallister in the Breast Health Centre, circa 2007- when it first opened, speaking with a patient.