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Highland Life / News / NHS Highland / New standard for breast cancer screening

New standard for breast cancer screening

Issued: 6 Aug 2008

An improved way of screening for breast cancer that can pick up small tumours at a very early stage is to become the standard in Highland from this week.

Two-view mammography is already used for the first breast cancer screening appointment that a woman has at age 50. It means that two images are taken of each breast -both from the top down through the breast and diagonally through the breast. Until now, the screen every three years after the very first one until the age of 70, only involved one view of the breast.

Acting Breast Cancer Screening Coordinator Dr. Susan Vaughan said: "Over the years evidence has shown the benefit of continuing to take two views as it picks up more cancers in the very early stages when treatment can be less radical and more successful. Women will notice very little difference at their appointments and we really do encourage everyone to attend for screening when they're invited."

Outside of Inverness screening in Highland takes place in a mobile screening unit. The unit tours the Highlands continuously ensuring women are able to get an appointment near their home every three years. The unit is currently in Lochaber and Ballachulish is the first area where two-view mammography will be used for all screening appointments.

Patients in Inverness are seen at the Highland Breast Unit at Raigmore Hospital and two view mammography will start there in September.

NHS Highland is the second Health Board in Scotland after NHS Tayside to start using two-view mammography as standard. It is expected that there will be an initial 25% increase in the number of cancers detected as tumours are picked up earlier. The earlier that tumours are detected, the better the outcome for women.

Dr Vaughan said: "This will have an impact on the number of patients requiring treatment for cancer in the first few years and we have ensured that we will be ready to provide fast, quality care to all patients."

Last year 232 women in Highland were diagnosed with breast cancer. 40% were picked up by breast cancer screening.

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