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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Innovative equipment arrives at the Cumberland Infirmary for breast cancer patients

Innovative equipment arrives at the Cumberland Infirmary for breast cancer patients

Posted on Thursday 24th July 2014

L-R: Mr Ludger Barthelmes (consultant breast surgeon) and Iris Leeson

A newly-qualified physiotherapist at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has raised over £6,000 towards a new piece of hi-tech equipment for breast cancer patients.

Iris Leeson started fundraising after her mum, Angela Hodgson, had breast cancer and sadly passed away three years ago. Iris discovered the department were saving money to purchase a Faxitron machine so she decided to start fundraising to contribute towards it and three years later the department has now welcomed the delivery of the machine. 

The portable Faxitron machine means that tissue removed during breast cancer surgery can be x-rayed during the surgery, confirming the complete removal of the breast cancer. In the past the removed tissue had to be x-rayed outside of theatres in the x-ray department, adding time to the operation.

Iris has arranged various events in order to raise the money including participating in a skydive and arranging a charity ball for her 21st birthday at the Greenhill Hotel in Wigton.

Mr Ludger Barthelmes, consultant breast surgeon, said: “We are very pleased to now have a Faxitron machine in our department for the benefit of our patients.

“The machine allows us to ensure all of the cancerous tissue has been removed during surgery without having to send tissue away to the x-ray department which shortens the time the patient is anaesthetised. Patients tend to recover faster from shorter operations, and this also means that more patients can be operated upon.

“We are very grateful to Iris for her extremely generous donation.”

Iris has not stopped there and is now raising money to transform the patient waiting area in the radiotherapy and chemotherapy department in the Cumberland Infirmary. She has been working with a local photographer and interior designer as well as the Trust’s infection prevention & control team to create a better environment for the patients whilst they wait for treatment.

Iris is holding a charity night on Saturday 26 July 2014 at the White Heather Hotel, Kirkbride, Wigton. There will be hot food, local live band Sneaky Finch, a DJ and raffle. Tickets are £10 and over 180 tickets have been sold but there are still some available. Please contact Iris on 07805059259 if you would like to buy a ticket.