Suffolk: Better Breast Screening

17 July 2012, 05:00

More women should be able to get breast screening results back more quickly.

Women called for breast screening in the Mildenhall area this summer will benefit from using West Suffolk’s new mobile unit equipped with the latest digital imaging technology.


The new mobile breast screening unit will be sited in the Forest Heath District Council car park off College Heath Road, Mildenhall for several weeks from Thursday 26 July as part of its tour of seven West Suffolk communities.


The new mobile unit is equipped with the latest digital technology, which allows the mammographer to review image quality immediately. This reduces women having to be called back to the West Suffolk Hospital for repeats due to technical problems.  


Another benefit of the new equipment is that staff on the unit can carry out screening for women who have had breast implants. Previously these women had to be screened at the West Suffolk Hospital as it was not possible on the mobile unit.


Acting superintendent radiographer Sam Newton said: “The digital technology is helping us to provide an even better service for our patients by allowing us to produce high quality images quickly and effectively.


“The new equipment means less anxiety for women as staff can make sure they have a good quality image on the spot, which means they don’t need to call women back if there are technical problems. 


“This occasionally happened at the old mobile unit, as staff needed to return the films to the hospital for processing and therefore could not check the quality of the image while the woman was still at the unit.”


The mobile unit is part of a £1.2m investment in state-of-the-art mammography machines by West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which opened a new digital breast imaging unit in March 2012.


The new digital mammography machines mean the hospital has been able to increase its capacity after the government extended the screening range from within three years of a woman’s 50th birthday to within three years of her 47th birthday.


Women are called for breast screening by letter and should contact their GP surgery if they are unsure when they are due for a check-up.