Project information

It's all about the image

Oxford Breast Imaging Unit scans 25,000 women every year. It is hoping to buy a state-of-the-art digital mammography machine. It currently has a film-based analogue one but digital scanners use a lower dose of radiation, detect tumours across a larger area of the breast and show tissue more clearly.

April 2011 - March 2012

Charity information

Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Funds

Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Funds logo
  • Need


    Oxford is a Thames Valley cancer centre serving 2.5m people. Routine screening uses analogue film-based mammography. Analogue scanners are slow, occasionally produce unclear images requiring a re-scan. The scan event can be uncomfortable for women and the machines unwieldy for radiographers.

    They produce large sheets of film images which take time to develop and are cumbersome to distribute among diagnosing specialists. Images cannot be uploaded electronically to the hospital IT system.


    Digital scanners use a lower dose of radiation, detect tumours across a larger area of the chest and are less uncomfortable for those scanned (and radiographers). The images give more information and can be shared quickly amongst clinicians via the hospital and national NHS network. There are benefits to detecting breast cancer early, so advances in image technology are important.

    Oxford is leading a national trial in extending the screening age of women. This technology will help that.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To raise funds to purchase a digital mammography scanner.


    » Community events - sponsored sports events, wine & pamper evenings, community-led cream teas, lunches, dinners and fun activities.
    » Put on an Open Day - the Oxford Breast Imaging clinicians invited the community to an Info Day about Breast Cancer Screening.
    » Trust and Foundation applications. Although they often prefer funding research, we are still making our applications.
    » Applying to the hospital board. They are investing in a new mobile unit and will purchase the electronic IT system if fundraising is successful.

    Success will be...detecting a breast tumour earlier in even just one woman. Getting her access to life-saving treatment faster and replicating that for all patients.

  • Impact


    We have the chance to inform the government's national cancer screening policy through our age-extension research study. Showing that digital equipment detects cancers earlier, that screening women younger saves more lives and treating them sooner are all potential long-term benefits. Our research partners - Oxford Universtiy, CRUK, and other international partners will also have access to this equipment.


    This project has been fully endorsed by the hospital board. Additional staff costs and maintenance of equipment will be paid for by the hospital. There is a commitment to fully support this project if fundraising is successful.


    We ask our donors how they wish to receive their reports and we will invite our donors to meet the clinicians and tour the facilities to see the equipment they have helped to purchase.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £271,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £250,000 GE Digital scanner One state-of-the-art digital mammography machine
      £21,000 Work station For processing images

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Community £19,000 Guaranteed
    Trust & Foundation £50,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The Oxford Breast Imaging Unit is based at the Oxford Cancer Centre at the Churchill Hospital, a tertiary referral centre serving a population of 2.5m people.


    Every woman living in Oxfordshire is screened or has acces to screening at the Unit throughout their lives. As a tertiary referral centre we accept patients from the Thames Valley region, and for specialist cases, from across the country (including the Channel Islands).

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Oxford Cancer Centre draws together more than 900 world-leading scientists, researchers and clinicians on to one site. Cancer Research UK, Oxford University's Institute for Cancer Research, the Gray Institute and others are located here. It is Europe’s leading centre dedicated to cancer medicine and surgery and unites experts from a wide range of disciplines to form a major new powerhouse for cancer research.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Julietta Patnick

    She is known as the "Goddess of Screening", is on the government panel informing national decision-making and is leading Oxford's age-extension study.