Cancerkin is merging with Maggie’s!

Cancerkin and Maggie’s at the Royal Free Hospital

Cancer charities Cancerkin and Maggie’s have announced that they are to merge on 1 February 2016 to become Maggie’s at the Cancerkin Centre.

The Royal Free is delighted to welcome Maggie’s to the hospital, where the aim will be to provide services and support networks to patients with all forms of cancer as well as their family and friends.

Maggie’s at the Cancerkin Centre will continue to provide all of Cancerkin’s services for people with breast cancer, including lymphoedema treatment, therapies, patient support groups and experienced patient services.  And from next month, patients will also have access to all the additional services that Maggie’s provides, including courses on managing stress, returning to work after cancer and support for family and friends.

Cancerkin has taken the decision to join up with Maggie’s to ensure its stability against a background of cuts, and competition from a range of other charities, whilst it is still in a strong financial position.

Cancerkin Chief Executive Victoria Todd said: “I have watched this charity grow over the years. I am so proud that Maggie’s have agreed to take on and expand our work and provide a much wider range of support services to patients living with cancer. They too have a wealth of experience working on hospital sites.”

Maggie’s Chief Executive Laura Lee said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be working with Cancerkin to create Maggie’s at the Cancerkin Centre. The merger will allow both charities to extend the support offered to ensure people with breast cancer and the wider cancer population in North London receive the extra practical, emotional and social support that they need to live well. The new Centre will complement Maggie’s existing and planned Centres in London, at Charing Cross Hospital, at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and at the Royal Marsden, helping us to fulfil our aim of making the biggest difference possible to people living with cancer and their family and friends across the capital”.

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive David Sloman said: ““We have benefited from Cancerkin’s support to our patients over the last 28 years and we now look forward to working with Maggie’s who will continue this fantastic work supporting our cancer patients into the future.”

If you have any other questions about the merger or would like more information please call Cancerkin on 02078302323 or e-mail

FAQs about the upcoming demolition next to Cancerkin


Due to building works happening at the Bartrams Convent site behind Cancerkin we are having to move some services around inside the centre. The company who have secured the land, PegasusLife, are planning to demolish the current building and redevelop the area into retirement apartments. As demolition is a very noisy business with high levels of vibration and traffic noise, it is not possible for us to use the rooms so close to the site. There is also likely to be high levels of dust in the vicinity of the demolition which means the Centre will be sealed to protect it. Acoustic panels will be added to the windows throughout the Centre to help prevent noise and dust from entering.  We know this is not an ideal situation but the alternative options were to move to another location in Hampstead with reduced services or close completely for the duration of the building works.

Will I still be able to access Cancerkin’s services?

Yes, all of the services that Cancerkin offer will be available, this includes the Lymphoedema clinic.

How long will there be acoustic panels exist in Cancerkin?

We are currently looking to be back to normal by February.  However, as with all building works, this is subject to change and we will keep you posted. As there will be no natural light we will ensure we have lots of lamps to ensure we have enough light.

Will the class timetable stay the same?

Yes, all of the group classes will still be at the same time. Please always call on the morning of the class though to check whether it is still on. All of the one-to-one classes will still be by appointment only.

What will happen to the Lymphoedema Clinic?

The Lymphoedema Clinic will be relocated into a smaller therapy room. We have worked closely with the Royal Free Hospital to recreate our current clinic and ensure it meets the needs of all of our lymphoedema patients and staff.

How will I know if anything changes?

Any patients booked in for one-to-one therapies or group therapies will be notified by phone or text message. Please make sure all of your contact details are up to date on our system.  We will also be regularly updating our website, Facebook and twitter to ensure everyone has up to date information as it happens.

Will I still be able to make a cup of tea?

Yes, the kitchen will still be open for staff and visitors to use.  The windows will have acoustic panelling and the door will be shut to reduce noise in the internal therapy rooms.

What damage will occur to the Centre? 

We are working closely with the Royal Free hospital and PegasusLife to ensure that no long term damage from dust and vibrations occurs. This is being done by taking precautions like sealing all doors and windows, a water spray being used to compress the dust and hoardings around the perimeter of the demolition. After all of the works have finished however the whole Centre will be aired and professionally cleaned to make it as good as new again.

This is going to be a difficult time for all during the demolition period and we thank you for your patience and support. If you have any question please don’t hesitate to ask or call the office on 02078302323

On the Pulse – 6th August 2015

On The Pulse

  • Final reminder for Hampstead Heath sponsorship money
  • DNA discovery points to new clinical biomarker in predicting breast cancer risk

Final reminder for Hampstead Heath sponsorship money

This is the last week to send in your Hampstead Heath Walk sponsorship money. If you took part in the walk and want to be in with a chance of winning prizes generously donated by Floris, Perfumers to HM The Queen Elizabeth II, there is only one week to send us any outstanding money. The final deadline for money to reach us is Friday 14th August. On that day we will count up how much has been raised in total and announce our top three fundraisers, who will each receive a luxury prize donated by Floris.

Donations made on JustGiving will be sent straight to us, and funds collected personally can either be brought in person to the Cancerkin Centre or sent in the post (our address is Cancerkin Centre, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London, NW3 2QG). However, please do ensure that:

  • Your envelope is addressed to Ellie Shaw and includes your sponsorship form with your name clearly marked;
  • All the sponsors on your form have provided their full home address as we can only claim gift aid on their donation using their home address;
  • Please do not send cash in the post. Please ensure any cheques are made payable to Cancerkin.


DNA discovery points to new clinical biomarker in predicting breast cancer risk

In a ground breaking study scientists have discovered that a simple blood test could help identify the risk of developing breast cancer. The research was undertaken by Imperial College London and the Human Genetics Foundation in Italy. After studying 2,600 women from different areas of the globe scientists have concluded that DNA methylation levels in blood cells are associated with an increased breast cancer risk, and could be used to identify women at increased risk of developing the disease.

DNA methylation is the process which modifies the functions of genes and regulates how much of a gene’s protein product gets made, something that is essential for normal cell development. The team’s findings build on a growing body of evidence suggesting that lower than normal methylation of white blood cell DNA could be predictive of a heightened breast cancer risk.

The group for this study was made up of 4 main cohorts:  Breast Cancer Now’s Generations Study (a research project started in 2004 following over 100,000 women and men for 40 years to discover why some people develop breast cancer and others don’t) the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, Italy, the Norwegian Women and Cancer (NOWAC) study and the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.

The studies analysed by the researchers took blood samples from healthy women involved in the groups who were then monitored for an average period of around nine years. The women who developed breast cancer during this time had a lower level of DNA methylation in their white blood cells, compared to the women who didn’t develop the disease.

Notably, while three of the four cohorts confirmed this finding, the association was not replicated in the NOWAC study, something that poses questions about potential differences between populations. It is hoped that by being able to predict who might get breast cancer we can intervene to reduce their risk of developing the disease.

Dr James Flanagan, the studies head scientist “this topic has the potential to show how lifestyle and environmental factors influence one’s risk of developing breast cancer. Crucially, epigenetic patterns are modifiable; meaning that, unlike genetic risk, there is a possibility that we may find ways in which you can modify your epigenetic risk, so that fewer people develop cancer in the first place.” Whilst this research is at a very early stage, it is hoped that one day scientists could potentially be able to proactively change methylation patterns, underlining the importance of research into epigenetics.

To read more about this research please visit Imperial College London or Breast Cancer Now


Checking your breasts regularly can be vital to an early diagnosis of breast cancer, which can significantly increase your chances of survival. Men are also at risk so it is important for both sexes to be vigilant.

Signs and symptoms to look for:

•    Lumping or thickening of the breast tissue

•    Constant pain of the breast or armpit

•    One breast becoming bigger in size compared to the other

•    Puckering or dimpling of the skin

•    Nipples changing size, position or becoming inverted (turned inside)

•    Nipples developing a rash, crusting or producing discharge (bodily fluid)

•    Swelling that appears under the armpit or around the collarbone