A specialist renowned for outstanding patient care and advocacy in the community Dr. Paula Gordon is the 2020 recipient of the Prix d’excellence — Specialist of the Year award for Region 1.
Thousands of women would not be alive today, or would be suffering severe treatment morbidities, were it not for the ingenuity, ethical standards and determination of Paula Gordon, MD, FRCPC. So says Marie-Josée Cloutier, MD, FRCPC, radiologist and long-time colleague of Dr. Gordon at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Dr. Gordon is a clinical professor in the Department of Radiology at UBC, and emeritus medical director of the Sadie Diamond Breast Program at BC Women’s Hospital. She was among the first to pioneer ultrasound-guided breast biopsy and demonstrate the ability of ultrasound to detect small cancers often missed on mammography.
“Dr. Gordon has brought international recognition to Canada as one of the world’s leading and highly respected experts and advocates for breast cancer screening,” said Dr. Cloutier. “She has become as much a leader in public health as she always has been in the science of breast cancer.”
Dr. Gordon has a very specific professional mission: early detection of as many breast cancers as possible, which reduces breast cancer mortality and gives women more options for less aggressive therapy. In particular, she has advocated for supplementary ultrasound screening for women with dense breasts, for whom mammography is not always a sufficient screening.
Dr. Gordon is also widely known and appreciated for mentoring medical students, radiology residents and fellows in breast imaging, as well as teaching breast health to her patients and the public. She is a vocal advocate for advancing the knowledge of physicians, other primary providers and women about breast health and the options available for breast screening.
“In 2020, the world is catching up to what Dr. Gordon has been working on for 20 years,” said Jean Seely, MD, FRCPC, head of breast imaging and professor of Radiology at the University of Ottawa. “Every major Radiology conference has presentations with citations of her work. She is upheld as an example of clinical excellence and strong advocacy for doing the right thing.”
“I am first and foremost a clinician. I take care of women,” said Dr. Gordon. “If I observe something in my practice that I think is important to quantify and share, exploring it turns into a volunteer experience.”
Looking ahead, Dr. Gordon hopes to awaken Canadian decision-makers to the reality that guidelines for women’s breast health need to be based on the best possible evidence.
“Unfortunately, that is not the case at present.”