Every Breast Counts co-creators. L-R: Talina Higgins, Debbie Pottinger, Dawn Barker, Shireen Spencer


Every Breast Counts co-creators. L-R: Talina Higgins, Debbie Pottinger, Dawn Barker, Shireen Spencer

A brighter future for women’s cancers

Before 2017, women accessing cancer care at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) often had to wait up to seven days from the time of testing to receive a diagnosis. 

Now, the wait time is just 48 hours – and women requiring surgery are in the operating room in 14 days instead of six weeks. 

This is the life-changing power of your generosity. 

In 2017, donor support enabled the historic launch of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers at WCH in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society. Since then, the Centre has achieved extraordinary advances that are directly improving the lives of women facing a cancer diagnosis – including significantly reduced wait times from testing to diagnosis and treatment.

“The Centre is a real demonstration of the impact that’s possible at the intersection of philanthropy and healthcare,” says Dr. Ruth Heisey, the Centre’s Medical Director. 

Over the past five years, our Centre has focused on collaborating with departments across the hospital to create a seamless patient experience for women at risk for or living with cancer. 

This collaborative approach has also supported its growth as a world-leading site of research excellence in women’s cancers, where scientists are uniquely focused on breaking down barriers to cancer care for all women. 

“Equity is at the heart of the Centre’s research mandate,” says Dr. Heisey. “We’re listening to the voices of racialized and marginalized women to better identify and address the obstacles they face when it comes to cancer care and translating our findings directly into practice.” 

Much of this knowledge translation work is taking place in partnership with organizations like The Olive Branch of Hope, which collaborated on the launch of a new web-based resource and information hub specifically curated for Black women, by Black women. The Centre is also newly collaborating with The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic on the delivery of the Medical Breast Training Program, an initiative that provides clinicians around the world with the tools and knowledge they need to provide more effective breast cancer care for all women.

“Every single dollar invested in our cancer Centre empowers tangible, system-level change for women across Canada and around the world,” says Dr. Heisey. “The progress we have made to date simply would not have been possible without our WCH donor community, and we are so very grateful.” 

Learn more about the Peter Gilgan Centre for Women’s Cancers and stay up to date about the life-changing impact you’re helping to create at

We are Women’s