New scanner gives instant results at breast clinic

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A CITY breast screening clinic has become the first in Scotland to go fully digital – meaning more accurate and quicker scans.

The South East Scotland Breast Screening Centre, at Ardmillan House in Gorgie, has adopted the digital mammography service, meaning results of scans will be instantly available on screen to doctors.

The new technology, which is being rolled out nationwide, means that women who have already been through the often nerve-racking tests will not have to be called back in to repeat the ordeal if the initial scans are unsuccessful.

The digital service also means that scanning will be carried out more quickly than ever before. NHS Lothian said today that all of the 62,000 women who use the service every year, from the Lothian, Borders, Fife and Forth Valley areas, will benefit.

Professor David Cameron, NHS Lothian’s director of cancer services, said: “By the centre being fully digital, this will enable us to be at the technological forefront in mammography in Scotland, helping to treat breast cancer at the earliest possible stages.” The announcement was made as the centre, established in 1988 by Sir Patrick Forrest, who is seen as the father of the British Breast Screening Programme, celebrates its 25th anniversary.

A tea party event will see past and present employees discuss the changes at the centre over the past two-and-a-half decades.

Professor Cameron added: “We are very proud of the South East Breast Screening Centre’s important 25-year history and the innovative role it has played, and continues to play, in mammography throughout Edinburgh, the Central Belt and Scotland.

“Today is a true celebration of all the hard work and dedication of our staff in their efforts to detect and treat breast cancer as efficiently and effectively as we can.”

All woman in Scotland aged between 50 and 70 are invited for a routine breast X-ray known as a mammogram once every three years. Those with a family history of breast cancer may also receive scans, the results of which are usually available within three weeks.

Dr Jean Murray, a breast radiologist and clinician at Ardmillan House, said: “From small, pioneering beginnings in a Portakabin 25 y ears ago, we have met many challenges as part of an expanding and increasingly successful screening programme.

“We are proud of our part in the early detection of breast cancer, and look forward to more success as Edinburgh leads the way for Scotland”.