The center will offer young women genetic counseling, fertility preservation, imaging, breast surgery, plastic surgery and psycho-social support.
The center is named after the late Talia Belilius, who died from the disease two years ago. Shaare Zedek announced that the center would provide comprehensive treatment for young women with breast cancer, including genetic counseling, fertility preservation, imaging, breast surgery and plastic surgery (during and after pregnancy) and psycho-social support.
"There is no better way to immortalize Talia," said Prof. Jonathan Halevy, Shaare Zedek's Director-General, at the dedication ceremony. "We will do all we can to make sure that this new center does its job and helps to prevent disease, and to diagnose and treat young women."
Belilius had cancer at a young age and fought it for a long time. She was treated by Dr. Paluch-Shimon, Director of Shaare Zedek's Breast Oncology Center. Two years after her death, her family decided to establish this new center in her memory so that other young women with the disease can cope better with all of its ramifications, and have all services under one roof.
"Talia became ill at 36. She was treated at a number of hospitals for 10 years while bravely continuing with her life, her work, and raising our children," said Eli, Talia's husband. "After she passed away, we decided to commemorate her in a way that will allow other women to benefit from a support system of all the necessary accompanying services, not just medical, staffed by a team specifically trained for this purpose."
"… The idea of a personal escort, who is neither a doctor or a nurse, will help the patient to navigate the medical system, from the diagnosis and the worrying and scary news," notes Dr. Paluch-Shimon. "Young women, aged 20-40, are at the height of their fertility, family life, relationships and career. Apart from all sorts of side effects of cancer in women of all ages – affecting femininity, sexuality and self-image for example – a large percentage of these women are at increased risk of having genetic mutation. At an early stage of any relationship, the single women are forced to reveal genetic issues and the need for fertility preservation. And due to the treatment, they often experience menopause symptoms at a very early age."
"… Our main goal is to provide a response to all of the patient's needs, which will help her to cope better with the challenges and the treatment process. I hope that the treatment provided in this new center will help to save lives and improve the quality of life for these women and their families."
Also present at the ceremony were Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, other dignitaries and senior representatives from the Health Ministry, as well as the Belilius and Turjeman families, whose gift enabled the opening of the center.