Ontario MP Belinda Stronach announced Tuesday that she has raised more than 50 per cent of the funds needed to create a chair in breast reconstruction surgery at the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation.

Stronach, a former Liberal cabinet minister and MP for Newmarket-Aurora in Ontario riding, also committed to raising the rest of the money needed for the $2-million endowment, which will be called the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery.

Stronach was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2007 and underwent reconstructive surgery, whichinvolves the expansion of breast tissue and the addition of breast implants following a mastectomy.

"I want more women to be aware that this surgery is available to them and I also wanted to give the program at Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto the resources to expand so that more surgeons may be trained in the technique necessary for breast cancer reconstruction," she said Tuesday in a release.

The chair will enable the hospital to recruit more surgeons and reduce wait times for women who have had mastectomies.

According to Dr. Robert Bell, president and CEO of the University Health Network in Toronto, only 10 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer discuss the possibility of having a breast reconstruction with their medical team.

"That why the chair is so important,"Stronach told CBC News. "It deals with the healing process."

Dr. Marla Shapiro, who became an advocate of breast reconstruction in Canada following her own reconstructive surgery following a double mastectomy, said the chair will improve women's awareness about the surgery, as well as clinical outcomes.

"It will also support the training of surgeons with special focus on the techniques and procedures of breast reconstruction so that we'll have more experts with an interest in carrying out the surgery across the country," she said.

Stronach said in April she would notstand for re-election as a member of Parliament in the next election,and would insteadreturn to her father's auto parts company, Magna International Inc., as an executive.

Corrections

  • The chair in breast reconstruction surgery at the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation will be called the Belinda Stronach Chair in Breast Cancer Reconstructive Surgery, not the Belinda Stronach Chair in Reconstructive Surgery as was originally reported.
    Nov 21, 2007 8:50 AM ET