An £800,000 appeal to provide a new dedicated breast cancer unit at the hospital has been launched by the hospital’s charity.
The Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal was officially launched at The Forum, in Norwich, where the ambitious plans were announced by Director of Breast Screening Arne Juette and Consultant Breast Surgeon Simon Pain.
The breast cancer unit has seen an 80% increase in patient numbers over the past five years and numbers are continuing to grow.
While many patients referred to the unit receive same-day diagnostic tests and clinical and imagining assessment, others are unable to be seen on one day and are asked to return for scanning.
Dr Juette said: “We are all acutely aware of the extreme emotional stress which patients experience when delays occur and the uncertainly of whether they will be diagnosed with breast cancer or given the all clear.
“We want to offer the same-day service to every patient, not least to reduce this stress and anxiety faced by patients and their families.
“The new unit would provide this in a purpose-built space with diagnostic and treatment rooms dedicated entirely to breast patients.”
The launch evening was compered by BBC Look East’s Amelia Reynolds with speakers including NNUH Medical Director Erica Denton, former breast cancer patient Rebecca Mayhew and Anna Stevenson whose younger sister is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Rebecca Mayhew was diagnosed in 2012 not long after the birth of her child.
Since her diagnosis referrals to the hospital have increased by 80% and the mother-of-two said: “Until you get the diagnosis you are stuck, you are frozen.”
She described the waiting time between appointments as “torture” and urged everyone to get behind the Boudicca appeal.
Also supporting the event was Anna Stevenson, from Norwich, who told the story of her younger sister’s diagnosis and the impact it had on her whole family.
She said: “My mum watches her youngest daughter dying, my brothers who do not talk about it and wonder why they can’t protect their baby sister, and me and my sister who have survivors’ guilt,” she said.
Anna also described how her 11-year-old son asked her if she was going to die.”
However, “by far the worst bit was the waiting”, she said.
Head of Fundraising at NNUH, Louise Cook, said: “We need everyone to get behind this appeal because breast cancer affects every one of us, it’s as simple as that.
“I don’t know anyone who has not been affected by breast cancer – it may be a family member, friend, colleague who has been diagnosed and the quicker we reach our target, the quicker we can provide the new clinic and equipment.
“We would like to thank everyone who helped us launch our appeal – WhataHoot for making their fantastic pink gin cocktails for our guests, Richard Hughes and the team at the Assembly House for their canapes, The Forum for hosting us, and Tesco for their drinks – and of course, the fantastic speakers who gave us such moving and informative accounts,”