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Advanced Mammography Technology to Improve Breast Cancer Treatment at MNH

Two organisations partner to provide clinicians at the hospital with the latest mammography technology and advanced imaging training under a project to lower Tanzania’s breast cancer mortality by 50 per cent.

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Dar es Salaam. Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment are expected to improve at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), as clinicians at the national referral hospital expect to receive the latest mammography technology and advanced imaging training under a project to lower Tanzania’s breast cancer mortality by 50 per cent.

The project follows a collaboration announced Thursday between the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and GE HealthCare, an American medical company. The collaboration will involve providing mammography technology, training, and educational tools to radiologists at the MNH, which did not have a working mammography machine.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in Tanzania, with more than 80 per cent of diagnoses happening at stage III or IV when the odds of long-term survivability are much lower. 

Researches also show that the lifetime risk for developing breast cancer in the East African nation is approximately one in twenty and approximately half of all women diagnosed with breast cancer in the country die of the disease.

The RSNA-GE HealthCare partnership will see the installation of the Pristina Mammography Suite, which includes 2D and 3D digital breast tomosynthesis, Contrast Enhanced Mammography (CEM), CEM Biopsy capabilities and a Seno Iris workstation, at the Muhimbili University of Health and Applied Sciences (MUHAS), and provide maintenance of the system at no charge to the university.

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A joint press statement also said that about twenty nurses, radiologists and techs will be involved with the mammography suite. 

It added that live training under the grant will cover the operation of the system, image interpretation, patient care, video tutorials, case study learning, physician engagement in a peer learning network, and, upon course completion, a GE HealthCare-issued certification.

In addition to improving the level of radiologic practice and breast care throughout the region, the collaboration between GE HealthCare, MUHAS and RSNA will also work to raise awareness about the importance of breast cancer screening and early detection among Tanzanians.

Jan Makela, President and CEO of Imaging at GE HealthCare, said that is committed to helping reduce disparities in care and improving access to medical imaging worldwide.

“One of the ways we honour this commitment is through our continued pursuit of innovative imaging technology,” Mr Makela said. “Another way we honour this commitment is by working with organisations like RSNA to leverage our different strengths and engage the global community to help break down barriers to care.”

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“With breast cancer mortality rates in Tanzania among the highest globally, our work with RSNA will help bring much-needed mammography technology to MUHAS,” Makela added. “Early detection can save lives, and we believe this combination of technology, training and educational tools has the potential to help thousands of women across Tanzania.”

For his part, Umar Mahmood, chair of the RSNA Board of Directors, said he looks forward to working with local stakeholders at MNH to advance a breast imaging curriculum, provide in-person hands-on training in mammography, and offer online courses, technical assistance, and virtual support.

“Bringing this critical training and technology to MUHAS will improve access to quality patient care throughout the region and save lives,” he believes.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, affecting both developed and developing countries, with impacts transcending borders, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

The Global Learning Center (GLC) program, developed by RSNA to improve radiology education and patient care worldwide, works to create learning centres with established radiology departments based in low—or middle-resourced countries like Tanzania. 

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The programme allows RSNA members to work with the institution over three years to develop a customised curriculum that includes in-person, hands-on training, didactic lectures, conferences, online courses, and other education offerings. 

MUHAS is part of the RSNA GLC programme and is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

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