Video: State-of-the-art scanner gives hope to Leeds breast cancer campaigners

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A potentially lifesaving scanner that could help detect cancer tumours in West Yorkshire women more easily has been unveiled in Leeds.

The £125,000 tomosynthesis X-ray machine, which can detect cancer through detailed 3D images, was donated by the Breast Cancer Research Action Group (BCRAG) and given to Seacroft Hospital’s breast screening unit on Friday.

Pictured (left to right) Anne Leng, Deborah Clayton, Margaret Stead, and Dr Nisha Sharma with a new tomosynthesis machine at Seacroft Hospital. Picture by James Hardisty.

Pictured (left to right) Anne Leng, Deborah Clayton, Margaret Stead, and Dr Nisha Sharma with a new tomosynthesis machine at Seacroft Hospital. Picture by James Hardisty.

The scanner produces multiple image slides of breast tissue to give doctors a more in depth picture of irregularities than 2D mammograms currently used in the NHS breast screening programme.

Dr Nisha Sharma, director of breast screening in Leeds and Wakefield, said the technology will be used on women whose initial mammograms suggest possible cancer to determine whether they have the disease earlier. It will stop those without cancer from having unnecessary biopsies.

She said: “It could save a lot of pain and worry for a lot of women. It is a good test and it will improve the patient pathway from second stage screening.”

International research using the 3D scanners alongside ultrasound scans has found that mammograms used by the NHS miss one in six breast cancer tumours, while the new kit offers more in depth results.

But until a UK-based study into tomosynthesis is done, it will not be used to replace mammograms in England.

BRAG founder Margaret Stead has been among volunteers raising funds for breast cancer care in Leeds since she battled the disease in 1994.

She said: “Without any doubt this machine could save lives.”

Visit leedshospitalsfundraising.org.uk/BCRAG.php.