United Kingdom

FUJIFILM Europe, Medical Systems div. Observatory, illustrates how European breast units are addressing screening programs during the Covid-19 pandemic

November 26, 2020

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The report, based on interviews conducted in September and October 2020, found that the impact of Covid-19 has drastically reduced access to breast units, but at the same time it has pushed the adoption of measures to maximize safety for patients and women undergoing a mammogram.

 

During the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across Europe suspended breast cancer screening programs due to the closure of breast units in hospitals.

As a result, many women with breast cancer symptoms decided not to go to the doctor and have been unable to undergo mammography screening. In some areas, the number of the patients who had mammograms has decreased by more than two thirds.

Depending on the lockdown periods, which differed from country to country, the European breast units were closed one after the other, first in Italy, then in all the other countries. Screening units in hospitals across Europe have had to quickly introduce new protocols to safeguard work and patient safety. The staff has been equipped with all the safety devices and the spaces have been designed to always guarantee social distancing and to avoid the risk of contagion. Across Europe, women’s health services have reorganized to face the challenge of COVID-19, showing an exemplary and effective attitude to change. Even after the lockdown in Europe ended, many women did not attend when screening programs restarted, for fear of contracting the Coronavirus. However, we know that breast cancer screening can save lives, and a number of studies conducted by some leading research institutions suggest that stopping screening could result in an increase in the percentage of women who will die of breast cancer in the future.  

To understand this changing in scenario, we have invited influential voices in the European breast cancer screening landscape to contribute to a report that would focus on the current situation in breast units. We asked them to tell us how the impact of the pandemic has demanded new models of working and changes in their relationships with their patients.

“From the interviews carried out, a common thread emerges, namely the rapid response to the new safety needs imposed by the pandemic.” says Eiji Ogawa, VP Modality Solutions, Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs Medical Systems Division FUJIFILM Europe GmbH  “To ensure service to patients, breast units have adopted new procedures and reformulated operations. All this was ensured at a time when health systems around the world are under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic. The screening time has been redesigned to allow women to break down the barrier of fear and thus keep the appointment with prevention. We would like to  thank the healthcare professionals for having responded to our appeal, supporting us in the preparation of this report, but above all, for the tireless work they are carrying out in this period.”

Now that the second phase of the pandemic is underway in Europe, the resumption and maintenance of screening programs is essential, because breast cancer will not wait for the end of the pandemic, and the breast units are ready to play their crucial role in prevention. 
 

NOTES TO EDITORS

The report is based on 9 interviews conducted by Fujifilm Europe, Medical Systems division, in September and October 2020, in the following countries: The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Portugal.

 

About FUJIFILM Europe GmbH

FUJIFILM Europe GmbH (Duesseldorf, Germany) acts as strategic headquarter for the region and supports its group companies in Europe by formulating marketing and corporate strategies. Fujifilm entities operate in over 50 group companies and branches in Europe and employ around 4,500 people engaged in R&D, manufacturing, sales, and service. Throughout Europe they serve a range of industries including medical technology, graphic systems, electronic materials, chemicals, optical devices, recording media, and photography. Over the last decade, the company has more intensively focused on healthcare, and now looks back on over 80 years of experience in medical imaging. Today, Fujifilm provides the entire spectrum of patient care, ranging from prevention to diagnostics and therapy solutions. Today, research and development in medicine, bio-pharmaceuticals, as well as regenerative medicine are part of Fujifilm’s unique portfolio. 

About Fujifilm Women’s Health

At Fujifilm, we know that mammograms don’t work if women don’t get them; that is why we are dedicated to providing a noticeably more comfortable mammograms by means of the Amulet Innovality systems, equipped with the latest advancements in imaging including digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). The addition of DBT adds even higher diagnostic capabilities to help physicians diagnose cancers earlier for better patient outcomes, while striving to keep radiation dose as low as possible. We are committed to improving women’s health by ensuring access to breast health education and mammography screening services for every woman who needs it.
For more information, please visit: mammography.fujifilm.eu


 

Contact

Luana Porfido, Head of Corporate Communication and Integration Chief