- Getting to know…
- Farewell to our East London complementary therapy services
- New research shows two classes of cheaper generic drugs can help reduce breast cancer deaths
Getting to know…
This week we are getting to know Jacqui Moneke, Cancerkin’s East London Programme Manager.
How long have you worked at Cancerkin?
I worked at Cancerkin since January 2015. I started as the East London Outreach and Development Assistant and was then promoted to East London Programme Manager.
What attracted you to the role?
I already worked with a few charities before and really liked the idea of working closely with patients. I wanted to pursue a career in the voluntary sector and this role gave me a very varied job description to explore possibilities.
Tell us about what the future holds?
I will be leaving Cancerkin in August to go to medical school at The University of Keele. Hopefully I will be a doctor in 5 years but might be very broke!
Do you have an interesting fact you would like to share?
I’m a classically trained singer up to grade 5 with distinction. I have been in a choir since the age of 7 and was lucky enough to tour Italy with them. I also had a solo at the Royal Festival Hall with an orchestra when I was 9.
Do you have a favourite book?
Not really, but the book I have read the most is ‘For Esme – with love and squalor’ by J D Salinger.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would go travelling, buy each of my siblings a house and purchase a holiday home for my parents! If I had some left over money I would also buy up derelict properties and turn them into social housing and shelters. There are far too many homeless people in London with nowhere to go.
And finally our question to everyone what’s your favourite cake?
I don’t really like cake or chocolate.
Really?! No cake at all?
Well I do like fresh Madeira cake but it has to be very buttery and fresh out of the oven.
Farewell to our East London complementary therapy services
Cancerkin’s East London complementary therapy service has now come to an end with our last session taking place on Tuesday 28 July 2015 at the Given-Wilson Institute in Plaistow. There have been a lot of changes in East London since we held our first session in 2010 and there are now other, East London based, organisations able to continue the good work we pioneered six years ago. St. Joseph’s Hospice already provides complementary therapies and has now opened a new complementary therapy service in Plaistow. A Maggie’s Centre will also be opening at Bart’s Hospital, Islington in 2016. We are proud that our programme has had such a positive impact on more than 250 patients that we have treated and assisted during our sessions. We feel we have helped pave the way for others to continue to offer these services. The East London Programme is now looking to expand its breast awareness work in the boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets to inform women and men in the community about breast cancer helping to reduce the one-year mortality rate in the boroughs – currently amongst the highest in the UK.
New research shows two classes of cheaper generic drugs can help reduce breast cancer deaths
Two studies recently published in the Lancet revealed 2 different classes of drugs called aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and bisphosphates may increase the survival chances of post-menopausal women with early breast cancer. The findings also showed the two drugs used together had increasing benefits while also decreasing some side-effects.
The majority of women diagnosed with breast cancer are post-menopausal and the disease is most commonly detected at an early stage. Surgery to remove the tumour is currently the first course of treatment in most cases, but may leave traces of dangerous micrometastases (small secondary tumours). 80% of breast cancer cases are oestrogen-receptor (ER) positive, or sensitive to hormones in the body, such as the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen. Endocrine treatments, such as AIs, bisphosphates and tamoxifen, which can disrupt the tumour’s response to these body hormones, can help stop further growth and prevent a recurrence of breast cancer in the future.
The research, brought together by the Early Breast Cancer Trialist’s Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) – a global collaboration of work set up by researchers at the University of Oxford, involved 30,000 postmenopausal women who participated in 9 clinical trials in the 1st study. Over a 5 year span, those on the newer endocrine treatment (i.e. an AI) showed better survival rates than those on standard endocrine therapy (tamoxifen). Compared to tamoxifen, taking the new endocrine treatment for a further 5 years reduced the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence by 30% and the risk of dying from breast cancer by 15%. The 2nd study combines evidence from around 20,000 women in 26 clinical trials. It showed that 2 – 5 years of bisphosphates treatment, usually used to treat osteoporosis, reduces the risk of breast cancer recurring in post-menopausal women, and also has a significant positive impact on survival chances. However, this type of treatment was seen to have little effect for pre-menopausal women.
Professor Richard Gray, from the University of Oxford and the lead statistician for both studies, commented on the findings saying, “These studies provide really good evidence that both of these inexpensive, generic drugs can help to reduce breast cancer mortality in postmenopausal women. About two-thirds of all women with breast cancer are postmenopausal with hormone-sensitive tumours, so could potentially benefit from both drugs. The drugs are complementary, because the main side effect of aromatase inhibitors is an increase in bone loss and fractures, while bisphosphonates reduce bone loss and fractures as well as improving survival”.