Cornwall's breast screening service goes digital

Digital screening units for breast cancer have been introduced in Cornwall in the hope of diagnosing more women with the illness.

The digital mammography service at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) is the first in the South West to go digital.

It is hoped the images, which provide more detail of glandular tissue, will diagnose significantly more cancers.

Three screening units and two mobile units have been introduced in the county as part of a £2m investment.

Instant availability

Dr Donna Christensen, the director of the breast screening programme, said: "Digital equipment is a far superior diagnostic tool than the old analogue.

"In women who have very dense glandular breasts we would expect to pick up about a third more breast cancers.

"Digital mammography gives us a much clearer picture and the cancer pick-up rate will be even better."

The digital images will be instantly available to the hospital staff and will enable GP surgeries and other hospitals to access them.

RCH is also hoping to expand the age range of women screened in the county from 50 to 70-year-olds to 47 to 73-year-olds by the end of 2010, increasing the number of screenings from 60,000 to 75,000 each year.

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