Doctor’s breast screening plea for women in county

Mobile NHS breast cancer screening van at Morpeth Library Car Park.'REF 2912146792
Mobile NHS breast cancer screening van at Morpeth Library Car Park.'REF 2912146792

Women across Northumberland are being urged to make sure they go for a breast screening if they have an appointment or any concerns.

The Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle runs the region’s Breast Screening Programme and one of its mobile trailers is currently in Morpeth (it is in the car park next to the town’s library).

From April 2013 to March 2014, a total of 37,761 women over 50 years old were screened in Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, North Cumbria and Derwentside – 350 cancers were detected and treated.

All women aged between 50 and 70 years of age are entitled to free breast screening every three years.

Dr Nidhi Sibal, consultant radiologist, said: “One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some time in their life, so it is really important that all women of screening age attend for their screening appointment.

“Routine breast screening can help to find small changes in the breast before there are any other signs or symptoms. Early detection can mean that treatment is simpler and has a better chance of success.”

Breast specialists at the RVI in Newcastle are the first in the UK to offer a new technique to ensure the surgical treatment their patients receive is as accurate and safe as possible.

The pioneering approach is called Radioactive Seed Localisation. It can only be carried out by major hospitals with the right accreditation.

During the treatment, a specialist radiologist – using ultrasound as a guide – inserts a tiny, very low dose radioactive ‘seed’ into the tumour to be surgically treated.

The seed, about the size of a grain of rice, serves as a beacon during the surgery as it is able to guide the surgeon to the exact location of the cancer.