Mammogram clinic hi-tech

By ED SOUTHORN

Health reporter

ALMOST 2000 extra Tweed women are expected to obtain free screening for breast cancer from early next year.

A new Breast Screen NSW clinic, costing about $1 million and part of a Clinical Education and Research Institute to be built at The Tweed Hospital, will be a state-of-the-art facility, North Coast Area Health Service breast-screening manager Maureen McGovern said.

She said the new breast-screen clinic certainly did not anticipate any of the mammogram-testing problems which have created a breast-screening crisis in Queensland.

More than 9000 mammogram test results on women in far north Queensland have been reviewed following concerns by the Queensland government.

Of the 9300 cases reviewed, 83 women had further testing and two showed non-malignant cancers.

A radiologist who failed to pick up the two cancers is no longer working for Breast Screen Queensland.

Two Gold Coast women are planning legal action against Breast Screen Queensland after both were told they did not have cancer.

And Surfers Paradise MP John-Paul Langbroek has criticised a six-year wait for a woman wanting a breast reconstruction at Gold Coast Hospital.

Ms McGovern said there were very strict guidelines controlling breast screening in NSW, with each mammogram x-ray examined by two doctors.

"If they are in any way concerned, they have a third doctor review them and if they are still not happy the woman is given a more intensive examination," Ms McGovern said.

"Generally, the NSW system would not be too different to Queensland, but each state may have some different policies.

"Certainly, there is no suggestion that any of the problems in Queensland have occurred on the North Coast."

Currently, a Breast Screen NSW mobile van visits the Tweed for about eight weeks each year. Otherwise, Tweed women have to travel to Lismore if they want mammograms, although inquiries can be made for mammograms across the border.

Over the past two years, about 2900 Tweed women each year have been given mammograms by Breast Screen NSW.

With the new permanent clinic at The Tweed Hospital, the North Coast Area Health Service expects about 4800 Tweed women to receive mammograms each year.



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