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Women on the border and in north-east Victoria will have greater access to early diagnosis and detection of breast cancer thanks to a new state-of-the-art digital mammography machine at Albury Wodonga Health (AWH).

Purchased for Wodonga Hospital using a $300,000 State Government grant, the device has the ability to detect 40% more cancers by utilising 3D technology combined with contrast enhancement.

AWH Chief Operating Officer Emma Poland said this is the first mammography machine of its kind available to patients in north-east Victoria.

“We know that the key to beating breast cancer is early diagnosis and early treatment, and this new machine at the Wodonga Hospital will provide local women with access to cutting edge technology,” she explained.

AWH Medical Imaging Manager, Natalie McIntosh said the machine takes a series of images that are bound together to produce a three-dimensional image of a patients’ breast instead of a two-dimensional one, meaning doctors will see any problems more precisely.

“In excess of 4000 diagnostic mammograms are performed locally, each year,” Ms McIntosh said.

“The new machine means treatment is more specific and we can get a greater picture of breast tissue, meaning potentially less follow-ups for women, false-positives and other invasive measures to detect breast cancer.

 “The quality of medical imaging is always advancing and this new machine is an extension to the range of quality early diagnostic and breast cancer services we offer at Albury Wodonga Health.”

The acquisition of this machine marks the latest expansion in local breast cancer services delivered by AWH.

At the start of the year, Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund delivered $337,000 in new equipment to signal the start of reconstructive surgery on the Border, with two successful breast reconstructions completed at Albury Base Hospital

“This expansion of breast oncology services means that we can now provide every service required to treat breast cancer locally,” Ms Poland explained.

“Along with the ongoing health benefits, this will save breast cancer patients needing to travel to Melbourne for appointments – an undertaking which often bares a significant personal and financial cost.”

The new machine has been installed at the Wodonga Hospital campus, with bulk-billed diagnostic mammography services now available to women across the region.

This diagnostic test is different to a breast screen, which is recommended for healthy women aged between 50 and 74.

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