Mobile mammography

A valuable aid in the early detection of breast cancer

A bout two years after the outbreak of COVID-19, many resources are still being used in the fight against this new virus. Nevertheless, the number of breast cancer cases in Italy are still very high: according to the report “The numbers of cancer in Italy”, published by AIRTUM and AIOM, in 2020 about 55.000 new cases were diagnosed in Italy among women (as of today, estimates for 2021 are not available). But the numbers are destined to grow, since the pandemic has caused significant delays in screening and, on average, a 37.6% reduction in mammography scans [Source: Gisma: Mammography screening after the pandemic]
It is therefore essential to have valid alternatives to make up for the delay in the prevention and early diagnosis of the most common diseases, including breast cancer.

Rosa: an all-Italian project for the prevention of breast cancer

A valuable aid comes from an all-Italian project: Rosa is the mobile unit for mammography scans and breast screening born from the collaboration between CVS Srl and Metaltronica. It is a highly technological and innovative medical vehicle, designed to support radiology and senology units with the best mammography screening and diagnostic tools.

Main characteristics

The mobile clinic weighs less than 3.5 tonnes and can therefore be driven with a standard driving license. In this way, it can be driven directly by the radiology technician performing the scan on the patient. The interior spaces have been designed to guarantee comfort for the patient and to ensure that the healthcare worker can move easily. The vehicle is equipped with a Helianthus DBT digital mammography system, a precision diagnostic equipment that provides 2D or 3D mammograms.

Bringing scans where they are most needed

This is the philosophy behind the project developed by Metaltronica with CVS Srl: to offer qualified medical personnel a vehicle that is easy to drive and fully equipped according to the highest quality standards in the health sector, so that they can perform mammography scans and breast screening even in small towns, in isolated areas or on the outskirts, thus bringing prevention and check-ups where they are most needed and promoting local awareness campaigns.

Advantages and benefits for the health service

The use of a mobile mammography unit to implement screening programs for the early diagnosis of breast cancer makes it possible, first of all, to increase the supply of prevention services where, for example, there are no (or there are a limited number of) fixed radiology facilities. This results in advantages for the hospital in terms of productivity, and improves its reputation.
Expanding the offer and allowing greater access to mammography scans on mobile vehicles also has a positive impact on reducing waiting lists in hospitals and, more generally, on economic and social inequalities in healthcare.

Developments in mammography: tomosynthesis in screening

Although it is not yet included in the Italian guidelines, tomosynthesis (or 3D mammography) is a method whose use can also be considered for screening. In fact, tomosynthesis is a three-dimensional mammogram that eliminates the overlapping of tissue typical of 2D scans and allows a clearer and more accurate study of the individual “layers” of the breast. The high diagnostic reliability of tomosynthesis images makes it possible to detect even small lesions or changes that may be a symptom of a tumour process.