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Breast screening goes mobile after successful Bosom Pals campaign
HI-TECH mobile breast screening equipment has been bought by Southend Hospital after a successful fundraising drive, backed by the Echo.
The new mobile breast screening units, with fully digital mammography equipment, can be parked anywhere to provide routine screening of women aged 50 to 70.
The equipment has been bought after the Bosom Pals on the Road Appeal, launched by the hospital’s charitable foundation, to raise £450,000 for two new vans and convert an existing van to use digital technology.
The new technology means the hospital will be able to extend screening to women aged 47 to 73. This will take the number of women screened in south Essex to 38,000.
The digital images are clearer, making it easier to detect smaller tumours. It is easier to store the images rather than the old analogue X-ray style files.
Lucy Thomas-Clayton, associate director of fundraising, said: “The new unit is currently on site in order to train our staff to use the new digital technology before being put in to service later in the year.”
At the moment, X-rays – consisting of four images per patient – are transported back from the mobile trailers twice a day to the breast unit for reading as films.
The preparation and organisation of the X-rays on the mobile units is fiddly and complex.
Films also have to be filed and stored.
Digital mammography means images can be captured, viewed and shared within a matter of minutes.
Radiographer Alison Milne said: “For us, the only way forward is digital.
“We have a worry the analogue equipment, which has served us well,willbecome more and more difficult to replace.”
Staff will be trained in the new system and the other van is expected to be updated by the end of the year.
The Bosom Pals on the Road appeal was launched by Southend Hospital’s charitable foundation after the hospital’s breast unit was coverted to digital equipment following the successful £750,000 Bosom Pals Appeal.
The appeal, which ran for two years, funded two machines.
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