A long-held vision to create a specialist breast cancer unit at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has finally become a reality.
The Gayton Road hospital’s new £650,000 specialist unit was officially opened by Charles Hunniford, brother of broadcaster Gloria, on Friday.
More than 12,000 women and men are go to the hospital for breast related conditions.
Previously, staff had to share a department but now they have a comfortable environment, which includes two ultrasound rooms along with a dedicated counselling area.
Consultant breast care surgeon Amy Burger said the unit has received a good response from patients and staff.
She said: “It is incredibly fulfilling for all the Breast Unit staff to see this move from a vision to a reality.
“We wanted to create something neutral and calming and didn’t want a breast cancer focus as the majority of patients do not have breast cancer. We wanted a safe place where they could be reassured and looked after.
“The patients say they have felt like private patients. It is important that every patient feels like they matter.”
The unit is vitally important as 300 of the 3,000 people referred by GPs have breast cancer and one in 100 are men.
The brightly decorated unit, which is decorated with some murals, includes more clinic and examination rooms.
A new ultra sound machine has been set up in one of the two dedicated rooms plus there are more processing rooms for staff to examine the images.
Staff also have improved offices and reception along with a seminar room.
But one of the most significant features of the new unit is a private counselling room.
Patients will now be told in this private and comfortable room if they have cancer. The furniture has been funded by patient group, Keep Abreast.
Hospital chief-executive Dorothy Hosein said: “The most important thing is the privacy this offers.
“Everything we are trying to do is plan for the future.”
The unit has been made possible thanks to the efforts of current and former patients, their families and members of the community, who donated half of the build costs.
A donation was also made by the family-run Caron Keating Foundation. Broadcaster Caron lost her battle to cancer aged 41 in 2004.
Her uncle Charles, who cut the ribbon, said: “I think this is a huge boost for the whole hospital.”
Other new improvements for the hospital include a peace and hope garden.