Where your money's gone


Since 1991 BUST has bought many pieces of equipment for the Breast Care Centre. Scanners have been upgraded year on year as developments were made and so as to ensure that the unit had state-of the-art equipment. Fifteen scanners have been purchased to date, including a portable scanner for the Yate clinic. 


The mammogram machine was replaced and upgraded by the North Bristol Trust but BUST made a significant contribution towards this so that the equipment could be upgraded to a digital unit rather than the older “plate” type model.  We were one of the first units in the country to have a digital mammography unit in place.

MAMMOTOME   (Information courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

A mammotome is a vacuum assisted breast biopsy device that uses image guidance such as x-ray, ultrasound and/or MRI to perform breast biopsies. A Mammotome biopsy can be done on an outpatient basis with a local anesthetic, removes only a small amount of healthy tissue, and doesn’t require sutures (stitches) because the incision is very small.

Benefits of the procedure  A definitive diagnosis of the breast abnormality can usually, but not always, be made. Most women who have had both a surgical excisional biopsy and a Mammotome biopsy state that the Mammotome biopsy is far less stressful physically and emotionally. Cancer that is first diagnosed by a Mammotome biopsy can usually be treated with one operation instead of two. £14,142 plus upgrade at £4,900.


The BLES (Breast Lesion Excision System) is able to capture breast tissue for assessment and it uses radio frequency energy to do this.  The INTACT BLES system automatically adjusts the energy level required, always finding the lowest effective level.  The procedure can be done in the clinic to obtain a useful sample. £43,000.


A scanner bought by BUST was valued at £100,000 but we were able to secure an ex-demonstration model at a cost of £54,000.   This was bought in 2012.


Southmead cancer patients have undergone a novel breast reconstruction technique involving animal tissues. BUST funds NHS Patients.

This technique requires only one operation in which a permanent implant is inserted into the reformed breast “pocket” after mastectomy. The sterilised animal tissue acts as a support for the implant and assists the re-growth of blood vessels and breast tissue. 

The technique is the alternative to the current process where reconstruction requires two operations: the first to insert an expander implant and the second to provide a permanent implant. The new process removes the need for muscle tissue to be taken from elsewhere in the patient to form support for the expander and avoids the risk of sometimes uncomfortable and painful experiences during the expansion process.

The tissue support process was developed in the United States some eight years ago and has grown into a multi-million pound business. When the new technique came into use last year at Southmead, BUST gave the surgical team £10,000 to buy eight Strattice tissue samples for initial trials. Most women who underwent the new implant process opted for the operation on one breast only, while a few decided on two. 


Retired Consultant Simon Cawthorn (pictured), who led the Southmead surgical team, maintained “The procedure has been approved by the North Bristol Trust and we are grateful to BUST for providing the funds for the first patients. It was an overall good experience for the patients who were very happy. I think it is the best way forward for those who do not want two operations.” 

He explains that patients currently meet a clinical nurse specialist to discuss their operation. He adds, “But we are introducing a new process where patients become more involved in discussions on the operating procedures. Their meeting involves the breast surgeon, a plastic surgeon and the clinical nurse. It gives an opportunity for the patient’s preferences to be examined. Patients then go off to make a fully informed choice of what is suitable for them.” 

One of the Southmead double-mastectomy patients had reconstruction with the tissues bought by the BUST donation. She said, “I have been very pleased with the results. To be given the chance of having the cancer removed and reconstruction using Strattice implants at the same time really appealed to me. After the operation I suffered minimal discomfort for the first couple of weeks. By taking it easy to start with and doing my physio I was driving and back at work after five weeks. I would not hesitate to recommend the procedure.”

donations so far


Aiming to Purchase an MRI Scanner