Funded by NHS England and NHS Improvement, the unit has the latest breast screening technology, with the ability to be upgraded as technology advances.
The unit is to be shared between sites in Cheadle, Leek, Kidsgrove, Biddulph and Newcastle-under-Lyme, with a typical time span of three months at each site. During that time hundreds of women will be seen by a team of radiographers and assistant practitioners from University Hospitals of North Midlands in the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. The screening unit is a vital resource, enabling more people to access the service closer to home and reducing waiting times.
Women between 50 and 71 years who are registered with a GP are invited for a routine test every three years due to the likelihood of developing breast cancer increasing with age. Women younger than 50 may also be eligible for screening, if they have been identified as having a higher risk of developing cancer.
Michelle Ellitt, Superintendent Radiographer, said: “The routine screening appointments are so important for the early detection of cancers – the earlier we detect breast cancer, the better the outcomes are for treatment.
“If we can catch the cancer when it is less developed, the chances of successful treatment are really high, so while self-examination is important, having a mammogram helps us to detect anything that maybe too small to find yourself.”
She added: “We are delighted to be offering this service closer to home for our communities in North Staffordshire and I would urge anyone who is invited to attend their appointment.”
Anyone concerned about signs of breast cancer such as a lump, skin dimpling, lump under the armpit or anything that is unusual should speak to their GP.
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare facilitated installation of the unit and Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) who run Cheadle Hospital, carried out water testing and ensured safe site access. MPFT also provide onsite facilities for screening staff.
The units are built by WH Bence Coachworks of Bristol who delivered the unit to its location on a large transport HGV. The unit was lifted by crane into position at Cheadle Hospital by local company Steve Foster Cranes.