New digital breast screening unit in Rodney area
Women in the Rodney region, north of Auckland, will now have easier access to breast screening and more choice, thanks to a new digital mobile breast screening unit now operating in the area.
BreastScreen Waitemata Northland, screens about 35,500 women a year and the new mobile unit will operate from up to six sites throughout Rodney, replacing fixed breast screening sites in Orewa and Warkworth.
BCAC welcomes the initiative because fewer women will have to travel for a mammogram. They can instead visit the mobile screening unit when it comes to their area.
It’s the second digital mobile unit for BreastScreen Waitemata Northland, which delivers breast screening services on behalf of BreastScreen Aotearoa, the national screening programme that provides free mammograms every two years for women aged 45 to 69 years.
National MP and breast physician, Dr Jackie Blue, says the unit will improve access and choice for women in the region.
“The needs of women in rural areas of Rodney are best met by a mobile breast screening service in their own communities. The digital mobile unit will be able to screen an additional 700 women over the number screened at the fixed sites in Orewa and Warkworth.
“The unit uses the latest in digital breast screening technology and means the screening process will be quicker for women because the quality of the image can be checked immediately. Images can be transmitted electronically from one site and examined by radiologists in another, and specialist expertise can be shared between different regions.”
Breast screening services throughout the country are expected to be fully digital by 2013.
Dr Blue says around 620 women die from breast cancer each year. “We know that routine breast screening reduces the chance of dying of breast cancer by between 20 and 30 percent for women aged 45 to 69.
“But it is not just about numbers and statistics. Imagine the huge loss suffered by the whanau and friends of these women, and the workplaces and communities they are part of.”
The new unit will begin operating from 1 July, and public meetings are being held to help decide which sites it will operate from. Rodney women will also have the choice of having their mammograms at the fixed sites in Takapuna and at Waitakere Hospital.
For further information about breast screening, or to make an appointment, women can ring freephone 0800 270 200, or see the website: nsu.govt.nz.