Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor reveals she fainted at breast cancer diagnosis

  • Report from Granada Reports' Claire Hannah

Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor is helping set up a new breast screening academy in Manchester.

The actress who plays Sally Webster in the soap experienced breast cancer in real life at the same time as her on-screen character and is helping support a fundraising campaign to build the new centre.

The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA) at Wythenshame Hospital will help train up to 50 staff and technicians each year in in life saving breast imaging tests, including ultrasound and radiography.

A joint appeal from charities Manchester Foundation Trust and Prevent Breast Cancer has been launched to help raise the £1.8 million needed to build the centre and is being backed by Sally, who said: "My cancer was caught because of the skill and care of breast radiologists.

"I know first-hand the difference that early detection can make and to think that women in the future might have to wait for mammograms or breast screenings because of staff shortages is terrifying.

“I wholeheartedly support Prevent Breast Cancer and the Manchester Foundation Trust Charity with this appeal, which will not only make Manchester a national centre for breast imaging training but will have a very real impact on the lives of women in the area.”

It is hoped the new centre will help thousands more women in the region to get their mammograms, amidst growing staff shortages nationally.

Prevent Breast Cancer says around two in five (38%) breast imaging radiographers in the UK, almost half (39%) of breast clinicians and around 40% of specialist breast doctors are set to retire by 2025.

Almost 15% of breast radiologist and radiographic posts are vacant nationally.

The charity says the pausing of the National Breast Imaging Service during the pandemic has also led to an appointment backlog.

They add that this, combined with closing breast clinics due to staff shortages, has heaped pressure on the remaining services and without investment in more staff, the future of mammography in the region is unclear.

An artist impression shows how the National Breast Imaging Academy at Wythenshawe Hospital could look. Credit: National Breast Imaging Academy

Nikki Barraclough, Chief Executive of charity Prevent Breast Cancer, said: “The National Breast Imaging Academy is vitally important for the future of women’s health not just in the North West but throughout the UK.

"Breast cancer can be very well hidden – often women who are diagnosed with cancer after a mammogram have no outward signs that the disease was there, like having a lump.

"Without mammograms, these women might not find out they have cancer until it’s too late. 

“Now we need your help in funding the final stages of this vital building. Whether you’re a business owner, part of a charitable trust or simply an individual who wants to help, we’re counting on your support to fund this incredibly important centre which will save the lives of thousands of North West women.”

Businesswoman's breast cancer diagnosis after experiencing no symptoms

It is hoped the new centre will help thousands more women in the region to get their mammograms, amidst growing staff shortages. Credit: PA

Dr Mary Wilson, consultant breast radiologist at MFT and programme lead for the NBIA, said: “Breast cancer diagnosis and treatment relies on the expertise of breast imaging specialists.

"These men and women are often the first to spot a potential problem or even a cancer in its early stages, before any symptoms such as breast lumps are evident.

“Early detection is key for increasing a woman’s chances of survival; not only does it reduce the risk that the cancer has spread, but it also means that treatment can often be less aggressive and much less disruptive to people’s lives.

“Without this Academy, we are looking at a future without enough trained specialists to meet demands for mammograms. Patients could experience delays in their breast screens which could result in later diagnoses, which could be detrimental to their ongoing treatment.”

Breast cancer affects more than 55,000 people in the UK every year, with 12,000 lives lost to the disease annually.

The National Breast Imaging Academy (NBIA) will be built at Wythenshawe Hospital,as an extension to the hospital’s existing Nightingale Centre, where thousands of North West women go for their mammograms.

It would allow up to 13,000 additional women to be seen each year, whilst also training the breast imaging specialists of the future.

The service currently provides screening services for 200,000 women and is one of the largest breast units in the country.

Find out more about The Build to Beat Breast Cancer Appeal here.

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