New state of the art breast scanning gives local women faster cancer diagnosis

Spire Bushey Hospital took delivery of a brand new, latest technology digital mammography unit in January 2008. The new unit enables the hospital to offer a comprehensive, rapid diagnostic breast imaging service to patients who have a strong family history and are under the NHS threshold for breast screening.

In addition, current best practice within any breast screening programme is for screening to take place every 18-24 months, and Spire Bushey gives the opportunity for women to attend screening more frequently.

Forty two thousand women and three hundred men are newly diagnosed with breast cancer every year. This is equivalent to 813 per week, making the disease the most common cancer in the UK.

The chance of developing the disease over our lifetime is now estimated at 1 in 9, but the good news is that survival rates beyond five years are improving due to increased breast awareness, regular screening, earlier detection and improved treatment.

Dr Tafida El Sayed, Specialist Consultant Breast Radiologist, said: “Breast cancer is many women’s greatest fear, but through early detection and specialist care it’s possible to treat the disease successfully.                                                                                               

“While breast awareness is important for women, we must not forget

that men are also at risk. Breast cancer is not just a woman’s disease, and men should not be embarrassed to seek medical assistance if they notice any unusual changes in their breasts.”                                                                 

Top tips for men and women to help them become more breast aware are:

  • Know what is normal for you
  • Know what changes to look and feel for
  • Check both the look and feel of your breasts
  • Report any changes to your GP without delay
  • Attend routine breast screening

9 out of 10 breast lumps are benign, or harmless, and early detection of small non symptomatic breast cancers through the latest technology in full field digital mammography will enable effective treatment at an earlier stage. Continuous breast screening in a recognised programme will ultimately reduce deaths from breast cancer by between 22 and 40 percent.

Spire Bushey Hospital’s new unit enables the hospital to offer a comprehensive, rapid diagnostic breast imaging service to patients who have a strong family history and are under the NHS threshold for breast screening. The service is aimed at patients aged 40 or over, although high risk patients will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and those who wish to have an additional “interval” breast screen, between their usual 36 monthly screen.

At the new diagnostic breast imaging service, women are asked to give full details of relevant history then undergo a mammogram while the consultant breast radiologist is viewing the images in an adjacent room.                     

This means that if further views are needed for closer investigation, they

can be taken at the same sitting. In addition, if needed, patients will have an ultrasound taken of the breast to enable further diagnosis.

Patients have the peace of mind of knowing that they will have their results during their appointment and the opportunity to talk to a specialist consultant breast radiologist trained in counselling patients.

Every single mammogram taken in the breast imaging department is reported on by two specialist breast radiologists to ensure the chances of missing even the smallest lesions are extremely rare.

Although a GP referral is not required to make an appointment, a report following the imaging session will be sent to both the GP and the patient. If results show something that needs further investigation, the implications will be carefully discussed with the patient and their GP. If required, patients can quickly be transferred into Spire Bushey’s very successful and well know rapid access breast clinic where patients are seen by a specialist breast team, including a consultant breast surgeon and specialist breast nurse. Clinics are run continuously during the week to ensure fast access and patients are supported and reassured at all stages of the journey.

For more information about the comprehensive, rapid diagnostic breast imaging service or to make an appointment, call 020 8901 5566.

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