STRICTLY Come Dancing star Denise Van Outen opened a state-of-the-art digital mammography suite in Bournemouth and urged women to be breast cancer aware.

The television presenter and musical theatre star cut into a cleavage-shaped cake as she opened the Hologic Dimensions digital mammography suite at the Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital. She also received a cheque for £4,000 on behalf of Breast Cancer Care.

She told the Echo she became an ambassador for Breast Cancer Care after losing her grandmother to the disease. She has since taken part in Pink Ribbon walks and completed a trek of Machu Picchu with other celebrities and a group of women having treatment for breast cancer.

“Breast Cancer Care were a massive support to me and my family when we needed it,” she said. “That's the reason why I try and do as much as I can for them.

“It's really important that women are educated when they're younger so they're aware. My grandmother wasn't really aware of the changes to her breasts. She just left it, either she was embarrassed to get help or by the time she did it was just that little bit too late.

“People get a bit embarrassed, it's really making it so that people understand that it's not something to be embarrassed about. We should be able to speak openly about our boobs!”

The Nuffield hospital is the first private hospital in Dorset to have this particular digital mammography system, which makes examinations faster and more comfortable for women. It also boasts superior image quality which allows enhanced early detection of potential problems.

Hospital director David McNair said: “It's a bit like the old black and white televisions compared to new high definition technology. The images are that much clearer and it's far more comfortable for the patient as well.

“All round it's a vast improvement and the start of where we are going with the refurbishment of the hospital.”