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30 October 2009 | PR 09/148

Loughborough University steps up fight against breast cancer

Academics at Loughborough University have signed a four-year agreement with the NHS, worth £1.2-million, to support the fight against breast cancer.

PERFORMS, which stands for PERsonal perFORmance in Mammographic Screening, was founded by Professor Alastair Gale from the University's Applied Vision Research Centre and has played a critical role in improving and maintaining the diagnosis of breast cancer since the NHS began breast screening over 20 years ago.

The new agreement will see Loughborough University further develop PERFORMS to provide a unique self-assessment scheme nationally, which will continue to train clinicians in the early detection of breast tumours.

With breast cancer screening rapidly introducing digital capture as technology develops, the PERFORMS system will also be switching from mammographic film to digital images to help advance training techniques. Digital images will be examined by radiologists and advanced practitioners on high-resolution displays in breast cancer screening units.

This change means that a whole new range of dynamic training can be introduced, with participants also able to receive training wherever and whenever they like using a range of different computer devices, rather than being restricted to previous conventional equipment.

Professor Gale believes that the four-year agreement will allow PERFORMS to advance further the training available to breast screeners nationwide.

“PERFORMS has already been incredibly successful across the UK and has seen a lot of interest internationally,” said Professor Gale.

“Technology is changing and we need to change with it. The introduction of digital screening should enhance the detection of early signs of cancer and also enable us to improve training opportunities, which is essential in the fight against breast cancer.”

The NHS Breast Screening Programme is estimated to save 1,400 lives every year, with October being ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ across the United Kingdom. One woman in nine will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some stage in their lives.

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Jo Lumani
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: J.P.Lumani@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2008 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, with 22 out of 30 of its subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. It was named winner of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other institution.

It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

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