Monday, 24 June, 2024
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New 3D mobile mammograms for Gauteng

A state-of-the-art R3.8m 3D mammogram machine, housed in a distinctive, bright pink truck, in Gauteng, will make it easier to spot minor abnormalities that 2D mammograms cannot pick up – being more accurate in detecting breast cancer, especially in women with dense breast tissue.

It also reduces the number of false positive results and the follow-up tests, said founder and CEO of PinkDrive Noelene Kotschan.

PinkDrive, a health sector NGO, was founded in 2009 by Kotschan on the premise that “Early detection will help prolong a life”. Its primary focus is on citizens without access to reasonable care for these conditions, and who live in areas that health services do not reach.

Kotschan says the new mobile truck will reach those in rural areas, low-income settings, and other communities that do not easily have accessible and available screening services. However, she added, the reach is currently limited due to financial restraints.

“The truck can only service one province and although we will be able to move around, for now it’s the Gauteng truck… the other provinces will probably follow suit.”

The machine produced three-dimensional images of the breast tissue, showing the radiologist a clear vision layer by layer, reports Health-e News.

Public hospitals use two-dimensional mammography technology, which relies on X-ray technology to produce images used to detect signs of breast cancer.

At least one in 26 women is at risk of developing breast cancer in South Africa, with around 16% of cancer deaths being attributed to it. However, public sector breast clinics are overcrowded, which does little to improve the detection rate.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo blamed the long waiting times on broken machinery and delays in repairs, saying machines don’t get fixed for weeks, “which turns into months”.

He said at least one hospital had been forced to borrow units from PinkDrive because of broken machines.

Unlike in the private sector, public health patients are not screened annually. Instead, a referral system is used. When a problem is picked up the clinic will refer the patient to the hospital, which then refers the patient to a specialist – who will evaluate and make a diagnosis.

But the delays can be detrimental to a patient.

MEC of the Gauteng Department of Health Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko described PinkDrive as a “beacon of hope” in the face of the harsh realities of cancer faced by people in Gauteng.

“The 3D unit is a prime example of how health innovation can save lives by bringing early detection services to communities. The road to combat cancer is difficult. Our priority is improving our early detection and prevention services.”


Health-e News article – New breast cancer tech for Gauteng (Creative Commons Licence)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


3D mammograms detect more invasive breast cancers


Dense breasts a high risk of cancer – US study


False positive readings for 50% of 3D mammograms over a decade of screening


New screening 40% better at finding breast cancer



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