November 30, 2012
BreastScreen Queensland’s brand new mammography bus – featuring state-of-the-art digital screening equipment – rolled into Kingaroy today to take up a position at Kingaroy Hospital until mid-February.
Chief Radiographer Jenny Drake said the first patients to use the new equipment have been booked in for Monday.
“It’s brand new and has never been used,” she said. ”And for the first time, no film is used. It is all digital ready.”
BreastScreen Queensland began its regular screening visit in Kingaroy at the start of November but up until yesterday, women were being seen in the old bus.
This has now been moved aside.
The new bus, which has been assigned to the Toowoomba BreastScreen service, will cover an area from the NSW border up to Wondai and west to Goondiwindi. It will be on the road for 11 months of the year.
Ms Drake said about 2000 women visit the bus every time it comes to Kingaroy.
Earlier this year there was some publicity about the breastscreening program that made some women fearful it could be discontinued.
This was denied at the time but the presence of the new bus should wipe away any lingering fears.
“This should reassure all country women that we’re not going anywhere,” Ms Drake said. “In fact, across the State we now have 20 new mammography machines.”
There are nine breastscreening buses servicing Queensland.
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BreastScreen Queensland has also just rolled out Stage 2 of its digital mammography program, ie the introduction of a new Picture Archiving Communication System, known as PACS, which is designed to improve the quality of service provided to women.
PACS provides BreastScreen Queensland with the ability to store, distribute, view and interpret digital images electronically.
“PACS ensure Queensland women receive a consistent, high quality reading service regardless of where they live or which BreastScreen Queensland service they attend,” Chief Health officer Dr Jeannette Young said.
“This means a woman’s breast screen can be read by specialist clinicians with the click of a button, significantly reducing the time spent waiting for results.”
Dr Young said the new system, which has been funded by the Federal Government through the Health and Hospital boards, would particularly benefit rural and remote women.
“This is about improving access at breast screening services and the quality of care women receive when they attend a BreastScreen Queensland service,” Dr Young said.
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BreastScreen Queensland Toowoomba Service wants to encourage women aged 50 – 69 years to have regular breast screens, however all women over the age of 40 are also welcome to attend.
Since BreastScreen Queensland began 20 years ago, deaths from breast cancer have fallen by 28 per cent. And survival rates have increased from 74 per cent to 89 per cent.
There has also been a marked decrease the number of mastectomies required.
Appointments are one-on-one with a female health professional and only take about 30 minutes.
To make an appointment to visit the mobile service in Kingaroy, phone 13-20-50. No referral from a doctor is necessary.