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Great progress on 3D Mammogram Machine Funds – Lions Club

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone in the Eastern Coromandel who have contributed their time and money to help us achieve and exceed our first year’s target of $100,000. The amount in the Lion’s trust bank account set up for Project Mammogram is $102,000 at the time of writing this article.

This achievement gives us confidence that achieving $200,000 by the end of 2024 is possible, after which, we will apply for grants for funds for the remainder of the $350,000 required.

There are a few issues that we are receiving feedback on which we would like to clarify as follows.

The Lions are fund raising for the purchase of a 3D mammogram machine and a place to house it.

Mammography is a specialised service and will require a private radiology company to operate it.

We aim to have further discussions with prospective radiology companies in the first quarter of 2024 about running this service.

It will be up to the company that chooses to operate this service to negotiate a contact with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand for the publicly-funded mammograms for women between 45 and 69. Women outside of those age groups in most cases will have to pay for their screening mammogram as is the case at present, however, they will save the travel costs to Hamilton.

The likely service provided in the first instance is breast screening only. We are often asked about Diagnostic Mammograms.

The difference between screening mammograms and diagnostic is as follows.

Screening Mammograms are essentially a health check of the breast carried out by a mammographer and read by a radiologist used primarily for early detection of breast cancer, if found, may need further examination.

While Screening Mammograms are routinely performed to detect breast cancer in women who have no apparent symptoms, Diagnostic Mammograms are used after suspicious results on a screening mammogram or after some signs of breast cancer alert the physician to check the tissue.

Diagnostic Mammograms are performed by a mammographer mostly in the presence of a breast specialist, so it’s unlikely that this service would be provided initially by the company who operates the system in Whitianga. In the future depending on demand, they may introduce this service in the private part of their business.

Our goal in getting a fixed mammogram machine in Whitianga is to serve the Eastern Coromandel to make breast screening easily accessible to women all year around, thus increasing the uptake in screening mammograms and increasing the early detection of breast cancer, thereby providing better outcomes for the one in nine women who will get breast cancer in their lifetime.

The 3D machine will be owned by a community trust and leased to a radiology company for a minimum charge until the end of its useful life, thus providing a low-cost entry into the market for the radiology company. This way, the community keeps ownership of the 3D machine they raised funds for.

We have an initial design completed for the Mammography Suite which needs a couple of tweaks to complete and some further fit-out at the radiology companies’ discretion.

Once we have an agreement with a radiology company, and their input to the design, we will announce this publicly to the community. This could take as long as six months or more given there are some significant contracts to negotiate.

We will be publishing a monthly update thermometer with our fundraising totals in The Informer and on social media and radio starting in December this year.

Thank you once again for all your support of our project and we look forward to announcing some new fundraising projects early in the New Year.