New 3D mammography and ultrasound machines for Breast Cancer Services

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A new 3D mammography/Breast Tomosynthesis unit and an advanced ultrasound machine will play a key part in providing improved and enhanced breast assessment for patients at St Vincent’s Breast Cancer Services.

The equipment was purchased thanks to a philanthropy campaign led by St Vincent’s Foundation, after it was found the existing 2D mammography unit was nearing the end of its lifespan and more up-to-date imaging capability was required.

This special call-out was widely supported through generous donations from the local community.

The hi-tech mammogram and ultrasound machines were fitted in October and the clinical setting where they are now housed was also upgraded to accommodate the installation.

“The new breast imaging suite provides the opportunity for a woman to have a full assessment of her breast symptoms using state-of-the-art equipment with an increased ability to detect breast cancer earlier,” says Dr Caroline Baker, Head of Breast Surgery at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.

One-stop assessments

One of the major benefits of the new imaging suite is an ability to perform one-stop advanced breast imaging and interventions.

“We now no longer have to rely on other services and can do all the necessary advanced breast imaging and interventional procedures in-house in our Medical Imaging department,” says Dr Kirti Mehta, Lead Breast Radiologist at St Vincent’s Breast Cancer Services.

“This new equipment will enable early breast cancer detection, better surveillance and staging of the known breast cancer patients, and contribute to better management and positive clinical outcomes. It will allow us to perform functional imaging of the breast with contrast-enhanced mammography for pre-operative staging of the known breast cancer, which can assist with surgical planning.”

A Breast Tomosynthesis machine helps overcome challenges previously experienced with 2D mammography as it provides a way to assess the breast tissue in thinner sections, so small breast cancers don’t get overlooked.

“This 3D equipment improves the sensitivity and specificity of mammography testing for breast cancer detection,” says Dr Mehta.

Putting patients first

St Vincent’s Breast Care Services prides itself on delivering patient-centred care and through the equipment upgrade the team is now able to offer patients an even more progressive means of support, explains Dr Baker.

“Having dedicated specialist personnel providing the imaging, and if necessary, moving forward with a biopsy, ensures timely, patient-focused care in a comfortable and discreet environment,” Dr Baker adds.

“The woman is at the centre of all our thinking, our planning and our care here. We try to walk in her shoes and anticipate how she will be best supported to navigate her diagnosis, her treatment and return to wellness.”