New probe helps fight breast cancer

Mackay women battling breast cancer are set to benefit from new technology purchased thanks to the Mater Foundation’s RACQ International Women’s Day Fun Run.

Mater Private Hospital Mackay’s new GRC Neoprobe enables surgeons to identify and remove lymph nodes – and will be used on around 120 breast cancer patients from the Mackay region each year.

More than 16,600 Queenslanders took part in this year’s ‘Chicks in Pink’ event in March, including 225 Mackay residents who organised their own runs in the city for the first time.

And this October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a chance to focus on a disease that claims the lives of more than 580 Queensland women each year.

Mater Mackay surgeon Dr Wendela Schimmer said the advanced cordless neoprobe ensures surgery is more accurate for patients and enhances their post-operative recovery.

“Because neoprobes allow us to more precisely identify lymph nodes, breast surgery is more accurate and fewer lymph nodes are removed,” Dr Schimmer said.

“It is a critical piece of equipment for surgeons and demonstrates the advanced breast cancer treatment that women receive here in Mackay.”

The $92,500 neoprobe was purchased for the hospital by the Mater Foundation, which drew on $1,537,000 raised by the RACQ-backed fun run.

“This year Chicks in Pink ran in every Queensland city, including here in Mackay, and this fantastic equipment shows why every kilometre they covered was worth it,” Mater Foundation Executive Director Andrew Thomas said.

Registered nurse Catriona Muscat was among a group of 15 Mater staff who tackled a 5km course at Mackay’s Gooseponds to raise money to fight women’s cancer.

“We’re not running fanatics, but it was good fun and it’s rewarding to know that we helped breast cancer patients in Mackay and across Queensland,” Catriona said.

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