On the pulse 30th January 2013

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Events
  • Wig Workshop is back!
  • The Royal Free Hospital has become the first hospital in the UK to use breast PET

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Events
Anisah and the East London team have been busy this week holding breast awareness events at a number of community groups in Hackney, East London.

 

Firstly, on Monday evening 28 January, we visited Suleymaniye Mosque, joining a prayer group for young Turkish women. On Tuesday morning, we visited Morningside Children’s Centre, where we gave a talk to a small group of parents before joining a knitting group to talk, more informally, to anyone who was interested and to answer any questions about breast cancer and checking your breasts.  On Wednesday morning we joined a parent-and-toddler group at Frampton Road Baptist Church.  We set up a stall with all our information and parents came to talk to us while their children played. We also had Beverley, one of our massage therapists, with us and she gave short, free treatments to demonstrate some of our services, which were much appreciated. Everyone at all these events was most welcoming. We were pleased with the positive feedback, of which this is one example:

“I have been for two mammograms so far so understand the procedure but have not been checking my breasts monthly. I will do so now.”

We would especially like to thank Fayser, Marie and Christine (from Suleymaniye Mosque, Morningside Children’s Centre and Frampton Road Baptist Church respectively) for organising such well-attended and well-received talks.

 

We are always looking for more community groups that could benefit from a breast awareness session. If you know of any, please contact Anisah on eastlnd@cancerkin.org.uk or call her on 020 7830 2323.

 

Wig Workshop is back!
After the success of the Wig Workshops last year, we are pleased to announce we will be holding another on Tuesday 12th February 2013, from 11am-2pm (refreshments are provided).

The session will be run, once again, by the lovely Debbie and Magui and their team of experienced stylists. As well as talks and demonstrations about all aspects of wig and hairpiece use (including choosing, fitting and caring for your wig), there will be the opportunity for individual consultations. The stylists can cut and style any hairpieces you have, as well as giving you a personal session on the subtle arts of filling in brows and applying false eyelashes.

Last year’s sessions were great fun and gave participants a real sense of confidence about coping with hair loss.

For more information or to book your place, please contact us by email on info@cancerkin.org.uk  or call 020 7830 2323.

The Royal Free Hospital has become the first hospital in the UK to use breast PET
The Royal Free has become the first hospital in the UK, and only the fourth in the world, to introduce breast PET, a new imaging technology to diagnose breast cancer.

Breast PET (positron emission tomography), or Mammi, produces a 3D image of the breast that clearly shows the metabolic activity of cancerous masses. A small amount of radioactive glucose is injected, to see how the cells react to it. Cancerous cells take up more glucose than regular cells, and so the cancerous area lights up on the image. The high metabolic activity of cancerous cells shows up on the image as a bright spot, making it easy to diagnose.

As the technology shows the metabolic activity going on in the breast, it can be used to diagnose breast cancer and determine the treatment in difficult cases, particularly in the case of younger women with dense breasts.

The use of the machine is being pioneered by a multidisciplinary team, including consultant oncological surgeon Mo Keshtgar.

Mr Keshtgar said: “We use a range of imaging methods to help us diagnose breast cancer, including mammography, ultrasound and MRI, with breast PET being the latest weapon in our armoury.”

“It will be an especially useful tool in younger patients with dense breasts, when it is often harder to detect cancer using a mammogram and we also know that breast density is associated with increased breast cancer risk…complex cases such as these usually result in the patient having to undergo further imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI and sometimes more invasive biopsies.”

“Breast PET, on the other hand, allows us to study the metabolic activity going on in the breast… For this reason, breast PET will also be key in diagnosing cancer when previous scans have proved inconclusive in terms of identifying whether a mass is cancerous or benign.”

In certain patients, the breast PET can also be used to monitor their response to treatment. Results can be seen as early as after one cycle of chemotherapy, whereas with an MRI the response can usually only be determined after two or three cycles. This means that if the patient is not responding to treatment, alternative therapies can be considered.

Mr Keshtgar also added: “Another benefit of this technology is improved comfort for patients; there is no compression involved like traditional mammography, the patient simply has to lie face down.”

For more information, please see the Royal Free website, an article in the Evening Standard or the short report on ITV News.

Holly Lovering

On the pulse 23 January 2012

  • Look Good…Feel Better
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Talk at the Salvation Army, Hoxton
  • Patient Support Group

Look Good…Feel Better
We would like to say a big “thank you” to Look Good…Feel Better for running another fantastic session at Cancerkin this week. Particular thanks go to Lindsay Brown, Karen Beadle and Michele Chambers, the beauty advisors who donated their time to run the make-up and beauty workshop. 13 patients braved the snow to get here, and much fun and laughter was had by all.

The afternoon was a real success, and we are already looking forward to next month’s session.

Breast Cancer Awareness Talk at the Salvation Army, Hoxton
This week, we collaborated with Age UK to run a cancer awareness session at the Salvation Army, Hoxton. The talk, to a group of 16 over-50s, focused on awareness of breast, bowel and lung cancer, with Anisah (our East London Programme Manager), specifically talking to everyone about the importance of being breast aware. One of our lovely massage therapists, Beverley, also came along to demonstrate the kind of support we offer to patients, and gave free short massages to the audience.

Many thanks go to the Hoxton branch of the Salvation Army for being such good hosts and the audience for being so engaging and interested throughout. It really was a pleasure to have this discussion with you.  We would also like to thank David Downes from Age UK, for collaborating with us to deliver such an important message.

Part of the East London Programme’s aims is to spread breast awareness. If you know a community group which would be interested in hosting a talk, please contact Anisah on 0207 830 2310 or email eastldn@cancerkin.org.uk.

Patient Support Group
January’s Patient Support Group will be held on Tuesday 29th January 2013 from 12pm – 2pm, and everybody is welcome. Following feedback from previous meetings, this session will focus on lymphoedema. We will be joined by Lizzie Davis (personal trainer and former oncology nurse), Tina Kelleher, senior breast care nurse at the Royal Free and lymphoedema specialist and Sandie McKinlay, one of our own lymphoedema therapists, all of whom have very generously donated their time to discuss not only how to manage lymphoedema, but how to prevent it developing in the first place.

For more information, please contact Matilda on 020 7830 2323 or m.bradford@cancerkin.org.uk

Holly Lovering                                                                                                                         24th January 2012

On the pulse 16 January 2013

  • New Year, new classes
  • Patient Support Group
  • Annual Lecture (and a call for volunteers!)
  • NICE publishes new draft guidelines regarding breast cancer and family history

New Year, new classes
The time of Tai Chi is changing! Our first class with our new instructor, Millicent Hodgson, was held on Tuesday 15 January and those that attended all spoke of how ‘wonderful’ and ‘friendly’ the class was. This group class will be held every Tuesday, at the earlier time of 11.30am as requested by patients.

Our new exercise class with Lizzie Davis was also a huge success.  Comments from the women who attended included “just what I needed”, “worth every second”, “wonderful”, “it was fantastic” and there was a lot of enthusiasm about coming back next week. This class is open to anyone who is at least 12 weeks post surgery. However, we only have a few spaces left so if you are interested in joining please contact Matilda on 020 7830 2323 or m.bradford@cancerkin.org.uk as soon as possible.

Patient Support Group
January’s Patient Support Group will be held on Tuesday 29th January 2013 from 12pm to 2pm, and everybody is welcome. Following feedback from previous meetings, this session will focus on lymphoedema. We will be joined by Lizzie Davis (personal trainer and former oncology nurse), Tina Kelleher, senior breast care nurse at the Royal Free and lymphoedema specialist and Sandie McKinlay, one of our own lymphoedema therapists, all of whom have very generously donated their time to discuss not only how to manage lymphoedema, but how to prevent it developing in the first place.

For more information, please contact Matilda on 020 7830 2323 or m.bradford@cancerkin.org.uk.

Annual Lecture (and a call for volunteers!)
This is an early alert for our 2013 lecture, to be held this year on the 19th March 2013 in the Atrium of the Royal Free, starting at 6.30pm. We are delighted to announce that Professor Dame Carol Black DBE MD FRCP MACP FMedSci, the first UK National Director for Health and Work and current chair of the Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal, Health at Work Network will give a lecture on “Wellbeing and work – are they compatible with chronic diseases?”. We would love to see as many of you as possible for what is sure to be a fascinating lecture of relevance not least to those with breast cancer who are of working age.

Official invitations are being printed as I write and so we need volunteers to help us get them out.  Any time you can give us, no matter how large or small, would be a huge help. And do, of course, bring your friends to come and stuff letters with you. We will provide tea, coffee and biscuits!

If you can help (even if it is just five minutes before a massage appointment!), please contact Holly on 020 7830 2323 or h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk.

NICE publishes new draft guidelines regarding breast cancer and family history
This week, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published a draft guideline for consultation about breast cancer and family history. This guideline will make recommendations to the NHS on how to provide the best possible service to people with a family history of breast cancer.

This draft guideline suggests, for the first time ever in the UK, that women with a family history of breast cancer may be offered drugs such as tamoxifen for five years to help prevent breast cancer occurring. This has been happening in other countries, but not the UK to date. In addition, more people will be offered genetic testing, and, for the first time, the guideline has been extended to include both women who have had breast cancer and men.

The guideline covers women and men who have a moderate to strong family history of breast cancer – people with an unusually high number of relatives with breast cancer, often at a younger age that would usually be expected. Even though most people diagnosed with breast cancer (even including people with a few cases of breast cancer in the family) do not have a medically significant family history of breast cancer, it is crucial that those who do have an array of options to help them control their risk.

The guideline is based on published scientific evidence that shows that these drugs can be useful in helping to prevent breast cancer in these women. Taking these drugs won’t completely eliminate the risk of breast cancer but it may reduce it. However, it won’t be the right choice for everyone – some women with a family history may prefer to opt for a risk-reducing surgery or for extra breast screening that can pick up any cancers at an early stage.

The guideline also encourages the additional use of computer calculation models alongside family history when making a risk assessment, allowing for greater accuracy and potentially better tailored treatments.

However, it is important to note that this is a draft guideline that has been issued for people to comment on and it may be changed. The final recommendations will be published later this year.

Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Chris Askew, said: “This draft guideline represents a historic step for the prevention of breast cancer – it is the first time drugs have ever been recommended for reducing breast cancer risk in the UK. This is exciting as, even though most women do not have a significant family history of the disease, it’s crucial that those who do have an array of options to help them control their risk.

“An update to this guideline is long overdue and we’re especially pleased it has been extended to include both women who have had breast cancer, and men, for the first time. Once finalized, this guideline will pose new challenges for the NHS as it will need to deliver on its recommendations, including a potentially large increase in genetic testing.

“Breakthrough Breast Cancer will strive to ensure that the final recommendations are implemented swiftly. We urge women with concerns about their family history to speak to their doctor.”

You can read the draft guidelines on NICE’s website. For more information, Breakthrough Breast Cancer has their response and an informative article online while Breast Cancer Care’s response can be seen here.