Fringe Box



A Good Day For The Royal Surrey And A Better One For Women Suffering Breast Cancer

Published on: 17 Jan, 2016
Updated on: 17 Jan, 2016

A new £500,000 3D breast screening Tomosynthesis Suite – better known as “Tommy” was officially opened at the Royal Surrey County Hospital by actress Julie Walters.

The ceremony on Friday (January 15) marked the end of a year-long fundraising campaign.

Pictuyred from left: Julie Walters,

Pictured from left: Julie Walters, consultant breast surgeon Tracy Irvine, Anne Milton MP, Mayor Nikki Nelson-Smith and radiology directorate services manager Wendy Dengate.

Although the actress cut the satin pink ribbon to huge applause, the machine had already swung into action detecting its first cancer tumour just a day earlier.

Consultant breast surgeon Tracy Irvine and clinical director of the hospital’s breast unit explained that one patient who had described herself as, “one of the lucky ones,” had received a diagnosis of a very early tumour just the day before. She told guests – including MP Anne Milton; the Mayor of Guildford, Nikki Nelson-Smith; and a large band of fundraisers  – that her team could not wait to get their hands on the new kit and start working.

Research studies had shown that using “Tommy” compared to traditional mammograms had increased cancer detection rates between 25% to 37%. It had also decreased recall from 15% to 30%.

Ms Irvine added: “Over 50,000 women – one in eight women were now  diagnosed with breast cancer every single year. We are making great advances in breast cancer treatment and our survival rates in Surrey are the best in the UK.

However, she also said it would not be just Surrey women who would benefit from the enormous generosity of local fundraisers and donors, and she was acutely aware that half a million pounds was a sum that would not be so easily raised elsewhere.

“The research we do here will, we hope, prove the benefit of this equipment, and prove its worth to other less well-off areas of the country in the future,” said Ms Irving.

The 3 D technique has been designed to image the breast using a curved motion of the X-ray source. Multiple images are then reconstructed by a sophisticated computer technique to enable “slices” of the breast tissue to be viewed separately.

By viewing each slice independently, overlapping tissues are eliminated and small subtle abnormalities are brought into clearer focus. This enables early identification of even the smallest of tumours.

It can also help in confirming normal images in other patients when compressing the normal breast tissue produces overlapping structures that simulate more serious breast abnormalities. This will then lead to fewer recalls for women where no genuine underlying abnormality is present.

It is especially useful for younger women with denser breast tissue.

Afterward, Julie Walters, who was a former nurse at Birmingham City Hospital, speaking to our reporter stressed the importance of breast screening and applauded the work of hospital staff, volunteers and fund-raisers for providing such vital technology that would fight a disease that so many women, including herself, absolutely dreaded.

Royal Surrey chairman John Denning, after thanking everyone for a huge effort of which they should be immensely proud, said: “This has been another good day for the Guildford hospital.”

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *