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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Breast cancer unit at Darent Valley Hospital will help improve patients’ treatment

19 February 2014
by Alex Matthews

The Empress Unit at Darent Valley Hospital was opened on Friday by chief executive Susan Acott with the help of surgeon Kothandaraman Murali and consultant Seema Seetharam.

Up until now, patients had to visit numerous departments around the hospital for a variety of tests and treatments, or even travel to London.

Opening of new breast unit. Ladies cutting ribbon are Susan Acott and Seema Seetharam.

Opening of new breast unit. Ladies cutting ribbon are Susan Acott and Seema Seetharam.

But now things should be easier allowing patients to concentrate on fighting the disease.

Formerly the Hornbeam Unit for the elderly, the Empress Unit has four clinical rooms, plus other areas for patients to change into gowns, meet counsellors or have mammograms.

It was made possible thanks to donations from patient organisations such as the After Breast Cancer Support Group.

Many people attended the opening, including doctors, nurses, surgeons, current and former breast cancer patients, hospital officials and Dartford MP Gareth Johnson.

Seema Seetharam, consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon said the unit was a “one-stop-shop” for patients, where they could have tests, get examined and receive advice.

She said: “As a unit it is one of the best. Our patients spent a lot of time walking up and down the hospital but now patients can come to this area and everything is in one place.”

Ninety per cent of people who visit hospital for a screening do not have cancer.

Opening of new breast unit at Darent Valley Hospital

Opening of new breast unit at Darent Valley Hospital

With everything in one place, it will make things more efficient which means good news can be delivered more quickly. For those who do need further treatment, the process will hopefully be less stressful.

Ms Seetharam said: “We do everything here, there are very few things that patients need to get somewhere else.”

Mr Johnson was impressed with the unit and said it would give those going through cancer the chance to stay closer to home, rather than experiencing further stress caused by travelling up to London or across the county to other hospitals.

He said: “This will provide almost a one-stop-shop for local residents.

“It’s traumatic enough for people as it is when they are suffering with cancer and this facility means they no longer have to travel up into central London for treatment.”

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