Women in Bedfordshire facing cervical cancer tests are benefiting from a pioneering bit of medical kit, thanks to the public’s generosity.
Bedford Hospital has received a Dynamic Imaging System (DySIS), which detects cancer and pre-cancerous “hot spots”, courtesy of Bedford Hospitals Charity.
The donation was possible thanks to the charity’s Challenge Cancer Appeal, which has raised more than £250,000 of its £750,000 target.
The DySIS gives doctors a digital image of pre-cancerous cells, and helps to map and measure the level of change in order to decide the best treatment.
It also ensures women don’t undergo unnecessary invasive treatment which could cause problems during pregnancy, such as risk of premature birth.
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Jullien Brady said it is helping to prevent many women develop cancer who are referred to the hospital for a procedure, called a colposcopy, after having an abnormal screening test as it is more accurate than the traditional procedure.
He said: “Most of these women were treated with a procedure called LLETZ which burns away the abnormal cells harmlessly. If left untreated about 50 per cent of these women would go onto have cancer but on a very variable time scale of anything between 5 and 15 years.”
He added: “DySIS shows you who you can treat, and who you don’t need to treat, with a higher degree of accuracy.
“This is helping young women who want to fulfil their wish to have a family by preventing the need for sometimes unnecessary invasive treatment.”
The Colposcopy Service at Bedford Hospital sees more than 1,000 new women for examination each year, of which close to 900 are referred after an abnormal smear test. Of those women, approximately 200 have high level pre-cancerous changes and half would go onto develop into full blown cancer without treatment in the fullness of time.
The Challenge Cancer Appeal was launched in September last year, and will be used to improve cancer treatment services throughout the hospital.