Business, diagnostic imaging, oncology

GE to supply digital mammography units to Irish breast screening programme

7 June 2007

Dublin, Ireland. GE Healthcare is supplying 13 full field digital mammography (FFDM) units to BreastCheck in Ireland, part of the Irish National Cancer Screening Service.

Ireland has become one of the first countries in Europe to entirely use digital mammography for breast screening services. Out of a total of 29 digital mammography systems installed across the country, 13 GE Healthcare Senographe Essential full-field digital mammography (FFDM) units will be installed, with 6 of the 13 systems being mobile units.

For Ireland, GE Healthcare’s advanced mammography technology will mean a shift in the reach of medical care allowing doctors to increase patient workflow, take medical care to patients in even the most remote areas of Ireland. The main objective is to increase the attendance rate of women invited for screening in order to improve early detection of breast cancer.

Niall Phelan, Chief Physicist of BreastCheck said, “We are very pleased to work with GE Healthcare as a supplier of the latest mammography technologies. Aside from its proven high image quality, the reduced time required by our radiographers to carry out the mammogram and review the images was also a considerable advantage when choosing the Senographe Essential.

"The robustness of GE Healthcare’s mobile unit was also something put to the test for vibrations impact during 8000 km across Ireland and the UK. Radiographers concluded positively on the digital equipment and workflow in the new mobile environment.

“We are confident that our 6 GE mobile units will assist us in bringing the screening service to women across a wider geographical area as our breast screening programme expands nationwide.”

Background to breast cancer

According to the National Cancer Registry Office Ireland, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, which accounts for 28% of all cancers in Ireland. Breast cancer is particularly virulent and 18.5% of all cancer related deaths in women in Ireland are due to breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the world and more than 1.3 million people annually are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization. Industry experts believe that the five-year survival rate in cases of early detection of breast cancer is 97%.

According to the OECD, 75% of patients diagnosed with breast cancer at Stage 0 are said to have close to 100% survival rate, while at Stage 4 the survival rates drop between 20% to 40%. In addition, treatment cost is six times more when diagnosis is made at Stage 4 than at Stage 0. As such, these statistics clearly show how critically important it is to have breast cancer detected earlier, not only due to financial savings but also due to greater longevity of women.

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