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Project information

Breast Cancer Equipment Appeal

Innovative 3D mammography equipment will enable doctors us to spot breast cancer at an earlier stage, which makes cancer treatment more effective for patients. Medical charity Cobalt supports patients and the NHS by helping to purchase equipment not ordinarily available within the NHS budgets.

October 2018 - March 2019

Charity information: Cobalt

Cobalt logo
  • Need


    About one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime*. We want to make breast cancer diagnosis and treatment more accurate and effective at an earlier stage using the latest technology. When diagnosed at its earliest stage, women with breast cancer will survive their disease for 5 years or more, compared with 3 in 20 women when the disease is diagnosed at the latest stage*. Please help us to provide patients with the best possible care. *Office for National Statistics


    We would like to raise funds for a 3D Mammography System. This is a state of the art screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool designed to improve the early detection of breast cancer. Mammogram pictures are normally 2 dimensional but the new system will provide 3D pictures, more like a hologram, of the whole of the breast. This will enable doctors to identify breast cancer at an earlier stage, which can make treatment more effective. It will also reduce the number of unnecessary procedures.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To detect breast cancer at an earlier stage using the latest innovative equipment.


    » To purchase a 3D Mammography System for the Thirlestaine Breast Centre. If breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 %.

    What success will look like

    Improvements in clinical performance and outcomes will be monitored.

    Aim 2

    To improve patient experience and reduce unnecessary procedures.


    » The greater accuracy means there will be fewer unnecessary biopsies or additional tests. The equipment has an ergonomic design for patient comfort.

    What success will look like

    Patients are encouraged to provide feedback and this will be monitored. Changes in clinical pathways will also be monitored.

    Aim 3

    To contribute to research led by Professor Iain Lyburn and senior advisors in the field of oncology.


    » Cobalt are currently contributing to 33 research projects. Research may also help 3D mammography become part of routine screening.

    What success will look like

    A report on the research outcomes will be produced including details of the current number of trials and new research trials and findings.

  • Impact


    The 3D Mammography system enables a more accurate diagnosis than conventional 2D and has been shown to assist in the detection of a greater number of invasive breast cancers. This ability to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage will save more lives.

    The benefits include improving the early detection of breast cancer and providing peace of mind due to greater clarity and accuracy.
    Long term results will be demonstrated through patient feedback, patient numbers and research outcomes.


    There is a small risk we may not achieve our fundraising target. A fundraising campaign has been planned to run until March 2019 and will be overseen by an experienced committee from Cobalt and the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust.

    As part of the wider campaign we are also raising funds for Breast Biopsy Equipment and Contrast Enhanced Imaging Software.


    Donors will receive updates through our newsletter, website and by emails (if requested). All donors will be invited to see the new equipment and meet with the Medical Director, Professor Iain Lyburn when the project is completed.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £243,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £225,000 Breast Cancer Equipment 3D Mamography Equipment
      £18,000 Breast Cancer Equipment Software License
  • Background


    The Thirlestaine Breast Centre is housed at Cobalt House, Thirlestaine Road, Cheltenham in Gloucestershire in South West of England.

    The facility offers breast cancer screening and symptomatic services. It was thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Cobalt Appeal Fund that the building was transformed into a leading breast cancer unit for Gloucestershire and the surrounding counties in 2009. Some of the equipment is now 10 years old and is in need of upgrading.


    The clinic sees an average of 125 new symptomatic patients a week. The Centre has an eligible population of approximately 115,000 and screens women aged between 47-73.

    Patients will also benefit from reduction of unnecessary procedures.

    Medical Professionals will benefit from increase in research and sharing best practice led by Professor Iain Lyburn who is a leader in the field.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Cobalt are leaders in the field of diagnostic imaging and have been supporting the NHS with services since 1964. We have supported breast cancer screening since the programme was launched in 1990, including providing the accommodation (Thirlestaine Court) for the Breast Centre. Cobalt's Medical Director, Professor Iain Lyburn is also the Clinical Director for Breast Screening. This partnership makes us well-placed to lead the fundraising for new equipment needed at the Centre.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Professor Iain Lyburn

    Medical Director Cobalt and Consultant Radiologist of Thirlestaine Breast Centre and Clinical Director for Gloucestershire Breast Screening

    Peter Sharpe

    CEO, Cobalt