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Breast screening changes for Eastern Bay of Plenty

Take the aunties’ advice and when it’s time to get the girls out for breast screening, fit the mammogram around a day trip to Whakatane.

East Bay Radiology, which provides breast-screening services in the eastern Bay of Plenty, has extended their screening and diagnostic mammography services in Whakatane to include more week days, some evenings and some Saturdays.

At the same time BreastScreen Aotearoa says its mobile breast screening service will no longer visit Kawerau or Opotiki.

Bay Radiology’s Steve Harris says that rather than being confined to a service which was delivered for a few weeks once every two years, women will have access to screening mammography in Whakatane several days a week all year round. A barrier to that in the past was that it was not open on Saturdays when many of them came to town for sporting or shopping excursions.

“By doing this we are changing the service delivery model for women,” he said.

“New technology will provide a faster service and will remove the need for women to return for a repeat screen due to inadequate image quality.”

BreastScreen Midland manager Clare Coles says she wants to hear from women in those areas who may have difficulty accessing the service in Whakatane when they make their appointment.

“We’re confident though from what East Bay Radiology tells us that extending the number of days it provides breast screening services, along with opening on some evenings and Saturdays to accommodate women and their families coming to Whakatane for other business, will help.

“We are determined that women will continue to use the services in the same numbers as before, however, we would like to increase numbers of eligible women having a free screening mammogram.

“The way we provide mammography services is changing, and we need to maintain a comprehensive mammography service in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

“The Ministry of Health requires all Breast Screen Aotearoa service providers to have moved to digital mammography equipment by the end of 2013,” said Mrs Coles.

A mobile digital mammography van can provide all of the services needed by women using the Breast Screen Aotearoa programme, but a mobile mammography unit cannot provide everything necessary for a comprehensive diagnostic mammography service.

“The new technology is more expensive to purchase, operate and maintain than the existing equipment which is why we moved to centralise some services in Whakatane,” said Mr Harris.

“With the new hospital being built in Whakatane, this digital mammography will also assist in bringing 21st century medicine to the people of the eastern Bay of Plenty.”

A mobile Breast Screening van will continue to provide Breast Screening services in Waihau Bay, Te Kaha, Te Puke, Katikati and Murupara once every two years.

A comprehensive mammography service in the eastern Bay of Plenty includes:

  • Screening mammograms for “High Risk Women” who fall outside the BSA programme criteria (e.g. age), or require more frequent imaging than they are eligible for through the screening programme.
  • Diagnostic mammography and ultrasound.  A large number of breast cancers are diagnosed outside of the screening programme.  A GP or a private specialist refers women with symptoms to the DHB for investigation. These women have their diagnostic studies and work-up performed at East Bay Radiology. Services include:
    • Mammograms
    • Ultrasound
    • Biopsies

To make an appointment for a Breast Screening mammogram in Whakatane call Breast Screen Aotearoa 0800 270200. Women with symptoms should contact their GP directly.

  • If you have already enrolled with Breast Screen Aotearoa, an invitation will be sent to you in the mail. When you ring the 0800 number to confirm an appointment time you can discuss the available days and times with the Call Centre staff.
  • If you are eligible, but have not previously enrolled with Breast Screen Aotearoa, ring the 0800 number to enrol and the Call Centre staff can discuss appointment times with you.

When do I have my mammogram?

  • Breast Screen Aotearoa provides a free screening mammogram once every two years for women between the ages of 45 and 69 who have no symptoms of Breast Disease. Women with symptoms should discuss the matter with their doctor.

Contact Breast Screen Aotearoa on 0800 270 200

ENDS

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