Volunteers’ boost for breast cancer screening in South Tyneside

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A VOLUNTEER group in South Tyneside has given a £5,000 boost to a campaign to buy breast cancer screening equipment.

The League of Friends of South Tyneside Hospitals has given the cash towards buying a Tomosynthesis machine.

I was overwhelmed when they told me how much they were prepared to give.

Dr Sally Athey, consultant radiologist

The machine, which costs £270,000, uses 3D imaging technology to help diagnose breast cancer.

So far, £185,000 has been raised towards its purchase.

Dr Sally Athey, consultant radiologist with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, who approached the League for a contribution, said: “This is a tremendous donation and we’re very grateful indeed for it.

“I was overwhelmed when they told me how much they were prepared to give.”

Dr Athey expects the full total will be reached later this year.

The machine will be used at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead, which provides breast screening services for patients in South Tyneside, Sunderland and parts of Durham, as well as Gateshead.

Dr Athey, who is based at South Tyneside District Hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields, but also works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, added: “Mammogram pictures are normally two dimensional, but the new machine will give us 3D pictures, more like a hologram, of the whole of the breast.

“This will enable us to spot breast cancer at an earlier stage, which makes treatment more effective.

“It will also allow us to establish whether the tissue is normal, without having to put the patient through further, unnecessary procedures.”

Maureen Young, chairwoman of the League of Friends, a group of volunteers who fund raise for all sorts of medical equipment, said: “When Dr Athey asked if we could help to buy the new machine, we felt it was so important to give some money as it will be of great benefit to South Tyneside women.”

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