A new piece of technology acquired by Charles Sturt University will help its students stay ahead of the game for breast cancer screening and detection.
Breast cancer became the most diagnosed cancer worldwide in 2021 and it is estimated 20,030 females and 164 males in Australia will be diagnosed with the disease this year.
Students in the Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Diagnostic Radiography) will now benefit from learning on a modern Hologic Selenia Dimensions 3D digital mammography system, donated by Sonic Healthcare to the Sheldon Pavilion Radiology Labs in Wagga Wagga.
The machine will be operational in Wagga Wagga from November and allow students hands-on experience on campus.
Charles Sturt Associate Head of School (Medical Radiation Science and Pharmacy) Associate Professor Kelly Spuur said the new equipment will better engage students and increase interest in mammography.
Associate Professor Spuur has more than 30 years' experience in the industry and is excited to see a new generation of student radiographers able to benefit from on campus access to this technology at Charles Sturt.
"Mammography is an important and highly-specialised modality, typically pursued by female radiographers, and not always viewed as an early career option," she said.
"If students take an interest in the modality early on, it may mean that they seek postgraduate training sooner and perhaps progress a career with a mammography focus."
Academics trained in mammography are available to teach mammography as part of the new Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science course, which Associate Professor Spuur said adds another element to the teaching.
Mammography is taught in the third year of the degree with increasing interest in the specialisation.
Joanne Fitzgerald is currently in her fourth year of study but will complete her degree over five years in Port Macquarie and online.
She had a career in sound and lighting and visual merchandising but wanted to switch to a rewarding role in health care.
Ms Fitzgerald is completing her Honours research in mammography with supervisor Associate Professor Kelly Spuur.
"This opportunity has provided me with foundation knowledge in both research and mammography practice and I am excited to see the work eventually published," she said.
"With breast cancer being the most diagnosed cancer, it is essential students understand the disease and its impacts on Australians and mammography practice.
"As a patient, going to get a mammogram or biopsy can be daunting so we need supportive radiographers who understand and recognise this among clients and patients and who can provide appropriate and empathetic care during this time."
Ms Fitzgerald said Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Pink Ribbon Day are crucial in raising awareness in the broader community and funds for breast cancer research and support services.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Australia.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: