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By Connie Osborne Friday 23 November 2012 Updated: 23/11 10:46
WAITING times for cancer patients are set to be shortened thanks to the introduction of state of the art technology.
The £132,000 endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) machine has been installed at the Alexandra Hospital thanks to the work of the League of Friends and will allow doctors to test for early signs of lung cancer without the need for chest surgery. It is expected to reduce the time taken to start treatment by three weeks.
It is the first machine of its kind in the county and means patients will no longer have to travel outside of Worcestershire for the tests.
The procedure, which uses a flexible ultrasound tube that is guided through the mouth into the lungs, takes images along with sample cells for testing in less than an hour.
Consultant respiratory physician Dr Abhi Lal said it was a fantastic development for the hospital and patients across Worcestershire.
"Early treatment of cancer gives patients the best possible chance of recovery. This technology will help us to reach a diagnosis faster than ever, without the need for invasive surgery," he said.
"We are really privileged to be able to have such cutting edge technology and to improve the service.
"It wouldn't have been possible without the help of the League of Friends. We're grateful for everything they've done."
In total the charity has donated more than £4 million worth of equipment since the hospital opened in 1986, giving over £200,00 this year alone, raised through public donations and sales from the League's coffee shop based within the hospital.
Pat Hadley, chair of the League of Friends, said she was thankful for the hard work of volunteers and public donations.
"We knew we had to do everything possible to make the machine available in Worcestershire. It took us 12 months and over 3,000 hours of volunteer work to raise the funds. It'll put the Alex on the map for all the right reasons."
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