A scanner that will play a vital role in detecting cancer is on its way to Neath Port Talbot Hospital – and it hasn’t cost the NHS a penny.
The £80,000 ultrasound machine will soon be used in the head and neck lump clinic within the hospital’s Rapid Diagnosis Centre.
It was paid for by dedicated fundraisers with Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge, which has donated £1 million to local cancer services since it was formed just over 25 years ago.
Suspicious neck lumps can have several potential diagnoses, including a number of different cancers.
GPs can refer patients aged 18 and over, who meet the criteria, to the one-stop clinic within the Rapid Diagnosis Centre.
This incorporates an ultrasound scan and further investigation such a biopsy if necessary, followed by a review with a doctor.
Consultant head and neck radiologist Dr Shaheena Sadiq said the new ultrasound scanner would replace an older model and play an important part in cancer diagnoses.
“Neck lumps can be difficult for a GP to assess as it is challenging to work out exactly where the lump is coming from,” she said.
“Once a patient has been referred by the GP for a worrying new neck lump, an ultrasound is usually the first test done.
“During that appointment we can use the scanner to assess the lump and either give immediate reassurance or, with more concerning lumps, we can use the machine to guide us to safely perform a biopsy.
“Ultrasound is good for both adults and children as no radiation is involved. It also helps us select those patients who need more complex scans, or those that need referral to an appropriate hospital specialist.
“The new scanner will thus benefit patients across the health board and will play a key role in cancer diagnoses.”
Neath Port Talbot Cancer Challenge was established in 1997, with a choir, the Cancer Challenge Singers, formed two years later.
Chairman Peter Jones, said: “The aim of the charity is to raise money to provide local hospitals with equipment for the early detection and treatment of cancer.
“Over the years we’ve been delighted to be able to assist in funding equipment for Neath Port Talbot, Singleton and Morriston hospitals.
“We are very grateful to the staff of the NHS in the area for their advice and support in guiding us as to what equipment is needed.
“It has been really exciting for us to work with Neath Port Talbot Hospital over the last few years for the Rapid Diagnosis Centre. The work being done here is ground-breaking and exciting.
“We are very grateful to NHS staff for their advice and support in guiding us as to what equipment is needed. We are more than happy to put our efforts into raising funds for them.”