State-of-the-art breast imaging service provides timely care, closer to home

Peninsula Health’s new Peta Murphy Breast Imaging Suite located at Frankston Hospital is helping local residents living in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula detect and diagnose breast abnormalities, including potential signs of cancer, earlier than ever before.

Breast cancer diagnosis grew by 17 percent on the Mornington Peninsula between 2015 and 2019, making it one of the more common health conditions in our community, especially amongst women.

The new service aims to be a hub for comprehensive breast health care that fosters a proactive and preventive approach to women’s health whilst ensuring our community continues to have access to the very best of care, close to home. 

“It will make a massive difference to patients on the Mornington Peninsula,” says Rhonda Barnes, Breast Care Coordinator at Peninsula Health. “The service is able to provide mammography and breast imaging services to the Peninsula Health community free of charge.”

Before opening in February, patients who required medical imaging had to access external medical imaging services through the private sector, or travel further in towards the city, leaving patients with unexpected out of pocket costs.

Equipped with state-of-the-art mammography machines, the new breast imaging suite will assist with the increase in public demand for mammograms which is expected to grow to more than 3,000 each year by 2031-32.

“As soon as you mention the word cancer, your life flashes before your eyes,” says Rhonda. “You start organising your own funeral, and you begin to think that you’re never going to see your kids grow up.”

“So, if we are able to provide care in a timely manner it can alleviate the stress or worries for most patients who receive a diagnosis. In fact, 80 percent of breast cancer patients don’t have any problems in the future.”

“We’ve got an excellent team here, and the service is very streamlined,” shares Rhonda. “If an abnormality is detected, we can organise breast biopsies within a few days, and if an urgent appointment is required, their operation can be completed within two weeks.”

Image (from left to right: Donna Jones, Helen Gordon and Rhonda Barnes.

Designed to be a welcoming environment for all patients, the new suite offers modern facilities, brought to life with picturesque artwork, and friendly, experienced specialists, offering a calm setting away from the main hustle and bustle of Frankston Hospital.

“As soon as you walk into the unit it is a completely different atmosphere to the rest of the hospital,” adds Rhonda. “You walk in and it’s quieter, it’s calmer, and the ambiance of the area and the decoration makes you feel pleasant.”

The breast imaging suite is now open, and is operating three days a week, with opportunity to become a full time service, providing any imaging required for the patients that are referred to Peninsula Health.  

GP referrals can be made following identification of a breast abnormality that may require further investigation. The service is open to all genders.