New technology at King’s Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital could help beat breast cancer earlier
- Credit: Ian Burt
New hope has been given to breast cancer patients after a hi-tech surgical X-ray machine was installed at a Norfolk hospital to help people beat the deadly illness.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn is the first hospital in the county to acquire a £65,000 Faxitron machine, which can help surgeons to detect and remove cancerous lumps as small as 5mm across.
The new technology has been installed thanks to generous donations of former patients and their families.
Consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon Amy Burger said it is making a difference to both patients and the medical teams.
'I would like to thank all of our supporters who have raised money for equipment like this,' she said. By having the latest technology available, our theatre is running more efficiently - which is good for our patients as they are spending less time under general anaesthetic.
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'Equipment like this is helping to improve the experience for our patients, which would not be possible without the support of the community.'
This is the latest development in breast cancer treatment at QEH.
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Last year, the new West Norfolk Breast Unit, which is a dedicated £650,000 facility, was opened and has proved popular with patients.
The hospital has conducted more than 150 operations in the last year in which surgeons have removed breast lumps through the NHS Breast Screening Programme - women, aged between 50 and 70, who are registered with a GP, are invited every three years for a mammogram in the community or at hospital.
Pictures from the Faxitron machine allow surgeons to check if the cancer has been removed successfully and is surrounded by healthy tissue.
Previously, the lumpectomy specimen would be transported to the breast unit, which took more time and required the use of the mammogram machine.
Taking the specimen to the Breast Unit could increase the time of the procedure by up to 20 minutes, but now the surgeons have the answers at their fingertips. The sample is now placed within the Faxitron which then provides an X-ray image in theatre to help surgeons.
Ms Burger said: 'The pictures are better and bigger so we are able to have an answer in seconds.'