Stroud Hospital can now offer the latest treatment to women suffering with breast cancer after the donation of a portable x-ray machine by the League of Friends.

The £60,000 Biovision machine is used in theatre to provide instant confirmation that the surgeon has successfully removed the cancer, making operations quicker and more accurate where cancers are difficult to feel.

The hospital is run by Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, with the theatre used by consultants from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The presentation by Stroud Hospitals League of Friends follows the donation in January of another state of the art X-ray machine, meaning the League has provided £200,000 worth of equipment to the hospital in the last three months.

Sarah Vestey, consultant surgeon from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are so delighted with this piece of equipment which will ensure that we continue to offer the most up-to-date service to patients.

“The quality of the images provided by the machine is fantastic. It also provides a digital image in real time which means that if I need to I can consult with colleagues while an operation is underway, or take additional tissue if the margins are too close, giving the patient the best possible outcome.”

Cases of cancer picked up by the national breast screening programme account for about a third of all breast cancers in the UK. Screening technology is now so precise that very small areas of cancerous cells can be found, with the result that increasingly sophisticated technology is required to operate.

The current procedure for impalpable cancers, involves inserting a tiny section of wire into the breast to mark the tissue which needs removal.

However, the availability of the portable x-ray machine means that the accuracy of the surgery can be double checked while it is still underway.

Tissue removed during surgery is put straight into the machine. If the x-ray shows cancer cells with a thin border of healthy cells then the surgeon knows that they have removed all the necessary tissue and the procedure has been successful.

Dr Roy Lamb, president of Stroud Hospitals League of Friends, said: “I have seen the improvements in cancer treatment throughout my lifetime, and the technology now available is marvellous.

“As always it is the extraordinary generosity of the people of Stroud which has made this donation possible and I am very happy to present this piece of equipment to the hospital on their behalf.”

Susan Field, Director of Nursing at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, which runs Stroud Hospital, said: “On behalf of the Stroud hospital team and its patients I would like to thank the League of Friends for another extremely generous donation, and for the amazing support they continue to give us.”

Photo (from left to right): Caroline Smith, Stroud Hospital, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust; Susan Field, Director of Nursing, Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust; Dr Roy Lamb, President, Stroud Hospital League of Friends; Sarah Vestey, Consultant, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Richard Hunt, Consultant, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Carol Parker, General Committee Member Stroud Hospital League of Friends