A north-east cancer charity has fast-tracked funding that could bring huge benefits to breast cancer patients and the surgical teams treating them.
In anticipation of the extremely busy period expected to hit staff at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary over the coming months, Friends of ANCHOR has brought forward £27,135 worth of funding for radiofrequency breast tags and detector probes, which are used to prepare patients for surgery to remove breast tumours.
Currently within the NHS Grampian area, there are more than 450 new breast cancer patients each year.
Jim Milne, chairman of Friends of ANCHOR, said: “In light of the current pandemic and expected patient numbers to ARI, the committee voted unanimously to fast-track this funding application.
“Our remit first and foremost as a charity is to contribute in a meaningful and responsive way to the care and support available for cancer and haematology patients, and we could not ignore the further benefits that would be brought by making this investment in a timely manner.”
The radiofrequency tags are implanted into suitable patients who require breast surgery to remove a tumour and work by emitting radio signals that are detected with a sensor in the operating theatre to allow for more accurate surgery.
The radio waves stay active for 90 days, meaning the tags can be placed in patients up to three months in advance of their surgery date, helping to streamline the patient pathway and allow for more flexibility.
In the future, the new equipment could also bring benefits for patients in Shetland, as well as at Stracathro Hospital where some breast surgery is also being performed, as most patients from those areas currently travel to ARI for their surgeries.
Dr Gerald Lip, clinical director for the North-east of Scotland Breast Screening Programme, applied for the funding at the charity’s February committee meeting, alongside his colleague Mr Yazan Masannat, consultant breast surgeon at ARI.
Dr Lip added: “This is new technology which we are the first to introduce in Scotland and it will make a significant difference in patients’ pathways and management.
“This new method is far more comfortable for patients and allows for even greater accuracy during surgery – and it has the potential to considerably streamline the process for both patients and the surgical team.
“We are extremely grateful to Friends of ANCHOR for accelerating the funding process.”