- Patient Support Group with Mr Debashis Ghosh MS, FRCS(Edin), FRCS(General Surgery – Breast)
- Awareness Event at the New Testament Church of God, Clapton
- Research has shown the risk of heart disease after breast cancer radiotherapy is less than previously thought
Patient Support Group with Debashis Ghosh
We were very pleased to welcome Mr Debashis Ghosh to this month’s Patient Support Group. A Consultant Breast and Oncoplastic Surgeon at the Royal Free, Mr Ghosh gave a fascinating talk on oncoplastic surgery; a comprehensive approach to surgical planning that combines the principles of surgical oncology with plastic and reconstructive surgery. His lecture was comprehensive, and very clear, tracing the evolution of this form of surgery before discussing current types of surgery and how particular procedures are chosen that are best for the patients.
The talk was so well-received, with patients commenting that it had been one of the most interesting and engaging talks that they had attended at Cancerkin. Comments included that it was ‘Honest, Clear, Positive’, ‘full of positive ideas, hope and faith’ and ‘Mr Ghosh is a man we can trust’. Therefore, on behalf of all the patients who attended, we would like give Mr Ghosh a massive “thank you” for donating his time to give such a clear and informative talk.
The next patient support group will take place on Tuesday 30th April, from 11.00am to 1.00pm, while April’s Young Women’s Support Group (for patients under the age of 45) will take place on Wednesday 17th April. For more information about any of these sessions, or to reserve a place, please contact Reema on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 7830 2323.
Awareness Event at the New Testament Church of God, Clapton
Last week, Anisah and Awareness Ambassador Afaf Deria gave a breast awareness talk at the New Testament Church of God, Clapton in Hackney. Their talk focused on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and was well received with lots of audience interaction and a long question and answer session. Feedback from the women who attended was very positive, with comments including “Excellent presentation – raised awareness and confidence” and “Excellent presentation – I found a lot of information that I was not aware of”.
The East London team were greeted with such enthusiasm and happy smiles; we would really like to say a big “thank you” to everyone who attended. We would like to particularly thank both Afaf Deria for her time and Evette Rodder for organising the session and welcoming us with such hospitality.
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 EastLdn@cancerkin.org.uk or call her on 020 7830 2323.
Research has shown the risk of heart disease after breast cancer radiotherapy is less than previously thought
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has, for the first time, calculated by how much radiotherapy for breast cancer increases the risk of heart disease. While, it has been known for a long time that radiotherapy often reduces the risk of breast cancer reoccurring after surgery, the heart often receives some incidental radiation exposure during this treatment. This is particularly true if the cancer is in the left breast or if the lymph nodes inside the chest are irradiated.
However, until now, doctors have been uncertain as to whether modern radiotherapy still increased the risk of heart disease, and, if it did, how big the risk was. This study, carried out by scientists at the University of Oxford and in Scandinavia, considered over 2,000 women treated with radiotherapy in Denmark and Sweden and found that while the risk of radiation-related heart disease was real, for most women it was small. It has also, for the first time, produced a dose-response relationship for ischaemic heart disease, the most common form, which means that doctors will now be able to use these findings to help treat patients by predicting the size of the risk for each individual.
The amount of radiotherapy given to patients is measured in Gray (Gy). For women with right-sided breast cancer, most radiotherapy regimes expose the heart to one or two Gy. The amount varies widely for left-sided breast cancer but is usually higher.
However, the study found the increased risk of heart disease after radiotherapy was modest. For example, a 50-year old woman with no cardiovascular risk factors has a 1.9 per cent chance of dying of heart disease before she turns eighty. After radiation treatment for breast cancer, in which the heart received 3 Gy, the risk increased to 2.4 per cent. This is outweighed by the benefit from radiation treatment, which can halve the recurrence rate and lower the death rate from breast cancer by about one-sixth.
The study also found that there are a few women who would have a substantial increase in the risk of heart disease if radiotherapy is given the usual way. This includes women who are already at increased risk of heart disease and women for whom the distance between the heart and the chest wall is very small.
Professor Sarah Darby, study author based at the University of Oxford, said: “We carried out this work because doctors could not reliably estimate the risk of heart disease in women treated with radiotherapy for breast cancer. Doctors can now estimate the risk and know that in most cases it will be very small so that they can reassure their patients. In addition, the few women for whom radiotherapy poses undue risk can now be identified, so that alternative techniques can be considered.”
Dr Carolyn Taylor, another study author at Oxford University’s Clinical Trial Service Unit, added “Already our work is being used in cancer centres throughout the world and we’ve heard it’s making a difference to patients. It’s important to remember that for most women treated today the benefits of breast cancer radiotherapy far outweigh the risks.”
Holly Lovering 27th March 2013