On the pulse 26 September 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we have an exciting month planned for our supporters!

First, our theatre event is taking place at the Hampstead Theatre on Monday 7th October. This year’s play is Hysteria and stars Antony Sher as Sigmund Freud. There will be a drinks reception before the performance and a raffle held, with excellent prizes including a week in a Portuguese villa.

On Wednesday 9th October, we will be holding our annual Breast Cancer Awareness Stall in Royal Free Hospital. Cancerkin staff will be running a stall outside the Atrium, talking to people who pass by and handing out literature to raise awareness of the importance of checking your breasts regularly and demonstrating the correct technique. If you would like any information on how to check your breasts, or you are in the area, please do come and say “hello” and learn just how important regular checks can be.

On Tuesday 15th October, the Royal Free London NHS Trust will be holding a talk entitled Breast cancer awareness and innovations in treatment. The talk will take place the Sir William Wells Atrium, from 6.30pm to 8.00pm and will include interactive demonstrations of the latest technologies available at the Royal Free. Cancerkin will also have a stall at the event, explaining the non-medical support we offer to breast cancer patients.

Speakers will include Tim Davidson, consultant breast surgeon and clinical lead, Mo Keshtgar, professor of cancer surgery, Katharine Pigott, consultant clinical oncologist and Alison Jones, consultant medical oncologist. Mr Davidson is the Cancerkin Medical Director and Mr Keshtgar, Dr Pigott and Dr Jones are all members of Cancerkin’s Medical Advisory Panel.

For more information, or to book your free place, please email rfh.membership@nhs.net or call Nancy Bell on 020 7830 2071.

Regulators have approved a new “Herceptin jab”
Central funding bodies have approved a new Herceptin injection for HER2 positive breast cancer patients.

Currently, around 10,000 women a year are diagnosed with the aggressive HER2 positive breast cancer, which requires Herceptin to be given intravenously. Patients then require an average of 18 Herceptin doses – one every three weeks – a procedure that takes between an hour and ninety minutes each time.

Administering Herceptin via an injection, however, only takes between two and five minutes, potentially saving patients up to 25 hours in hospital over the course of their treatment. This could dramatically improve quality of life for patients, particularly those whose treatment can last over a year. The time saved could also mean major savings to the NHS, if it is introduced routinely.

The ease with which Herceptin can now be administered could mean that in future, it could now be offered in community clinics, closer to the patient’s home, which would make life easier for the patients.

Sally Greenbrook, Senior Policy Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “This is a good example of how research can make improvements to patients’ quality of life as well saving considerable time and money for the NHS. For eligible patients, the option to have their Herceptin administered by injection, rather than through a drip, will appeal to them and we’re pleased that this treatment will now be routinely available on the NHS.”

Professor Lesley Fallowfield, Director Sussex Health Outcomes Research & Education in Cancer, University of Sussex said: “Time is precious to women with breast cancer, far too precious to be waiting around in busy chemotherapy centres. If subcutaneous delivery of Herceptin were to replace intravenous administration in the NHS then patients would spend less time in hospital and more time getting on with their lives.”

For more information, please see the Telegraph, the Daily Mail or Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

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