The Cariboo Memorial Hospital celebrated the unveiling of a new digital mammography unit Wednesday.

John Massier, Chair of the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District says it was a very large purchase.

“The total cost was $785,000 and the Foundation Trust and the good citizens of Williams Lake and region raised 60% of that money, and the Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District funded the remaining 40%.”

Events such an annual gala dinner, craft beer and wine tasting evenings, and donations from service clubs and private donors also helped contribute to the purchase.

The new digital unit which replaces an older analog mammography system that had been in place since 1999, performs mammograms with lower doses of radiation.

In addition, clinicians will benefit from technological advantages such as easier and faster access to digital images; computer-assisted diagnosis for interpretation; and better storage and access for breast imaging examinations.

The digital mammography project also includes a stereotactic breast biopsy attachment, allowing clinicians to remove tissue samples for examination in a less invasive manner than a surgical biopsy.

Previously, patients requiring stereotactic breast biopsies were required to travel outside of their community, such as to Kamloops, for this procedure.

“With the equipment now in Williams Lake, these patients will be able to access this care closer to
home,” says Erwin Malzer, Interior Health Board Chair. “Having the new digital mammography machine
in Williams Lake goes hand in hand with Interior Health’s focus of providing a renewed system of care for rural B.C., including our First Nations populations. This is great news for Cariboo residents in our care.”

Over 1,700 mammography exams were performed at the hospital in 2015/2016