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Denise Robertson unveils state-of-the-art breast screening equipment

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust is delighted to be welcoming local personality Denise Robertson to officially unveil a new state-of-the-art mammography system at University Hospital of North Durham on Tuesday 1 May.

Women in County Durham are to benefit from earlier detection of breast cancer thanks to a £300,000 investment in the new equipment.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Durham Hospital, is the first in the region to provide patients with access to this high tech equipment which delivers enhanced imaging, diagnostic modalities including tomosynthesis and biopsies.

Dr Julie Cox, Radiology Consultant at the Trust said: "This is a significant investment, improving the experience for local women by having their mammograms on state-of-the-art digital equipment, which improves visualisation of the breast tissue, especially in younger women. The new mammography machine enables images to be viewed on computer screens and then be sent on to experts to interpret at a push of a button."

Breast imaging with mammography involves having two X-ray pictures of each breast. If breast cancer is found early, it is more likely that patients will be able to have breast-conserving surgery.  It is also more likely that they will have a greater chance of surviving breast cancer in the long-term.

The new mammography system installed in Durham is capable of providing a 3D digital image and tomosynthesis which increases the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic imaging. This enhanced feature enables precise 3D digital breast imaging that significantly improves the early detection rate of breast cancer.

Dr Cox adds: "Using the new screening equipment with the 3d tomosynthesis improves the detection of early stage tumours and is especially useful in younger patients who have denser breast tissue. Three dimensional images of the breast tissue enable improvements in the detection and classification of tissue changes. This means better early detection and can reduce the need for further examinations and biopsies. The new system has also been designed to enhance the degree of patient comfort."

Dr Robin Mitchell, Medical Director for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "We have made a significant investment in the new equipment which will provide us with better images and create a more comfortable experience for patients. We are delighted that Denise was able to join us for this event and would like to thank her for the support she has given to the service."  

Published: 1 May 2012

'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital