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How We Make A Difference

All the money that we raise goes straight into battling breast cancer. All funds raised go to help in the two most vital areas, research and patient care…

Fear of Recurrence in Patients treated for Breast Cancer: A Pilot Intervention 

Breast Cancer 2000, is delighted to be working on a meaningful new pilot intervention that will help support more individuals worried about their breast cancer returning.

Working alongside the NHS and Beatson Cancer Charity, the pilot programme is being conducted through weekly sessions for two hours with 71 women having already been referred to the programme in its first six months. The groups have spoken about the peer support element in the programme as well as the practical information and coping techniques which have benefitted them immensely.

Fiona Sinclair, Therapeutic Radiographer within the Beatson Breast Cancer Team and Dr Natalie Rooney, Clinical Psychologist, have adapted an innovative group programme successfully developed by a team of psychologists in Australia. Fiona who works everyday with this patient group knows too well how important the sessions can be:

“I’ve worked with hundreds of women going through breast cancer, So many describe it as an emotional roller coaster, with the most common worry being that the cancer might come back.”

Natalie Rooney who is an expert in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) plans to hold more sessions in various locations across Glasgow. She said:

“The programme we have developed includes both practical and emotional coping techniques for managing these ‘what if’ worries…Thanks to the funding we’ve received from Breast Cancer 2000, we’re already seeing positive results and hope we can support many more women over the coming months.”

Patient feedback has also seen some positive responses which will hopefully see the pilot turn into a fully assessable service to more former breast cancer patients in the future:

“It was helpful to learn relaxation techniques and information about recurrence including lifestyle changes.” – Sarah, Glasgow

“The session discussing recurrence was frightening and focussed me where I didn’t want to go, however it was this session I liked the most, it was very informative and gave me knowledge to take forward.” Breast Cancer Patient, Glasgow

Breast Cancer 2000 aims to support more cutting edge research, to purchase equipment to ensure ‘state of the art’ care for all patients and to improve and enhance the environment in which patients are diagnosed and treated.

Taxanes Nail Study 

Breast Cancer 2000 has recently helped to fund an exciting study, which helps to evaluate nail problems in women with breast cancer as they go through chemotherapy treatment.

Nail changes such as brittleness, discolouration, and infection and in some cases loss of nails can cause real problems for patients with breast cancer having certain types of chemotherapy. Patients experience problems such as feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their nails and difficulties doing up buttons and zips, writing, and picking up things.

Currently it is difficult for NHS staff to advise patients about nail problems due to there not being enough research evidence about effective treatments for nail problems caused by chemotherapy, but this study will help find solutions for patients now and in the future.

The current project formally tests interventions reported in the literature and anecdotally by some patients as potentially helpful such as specialist nail drops and toxic free, dark coloured nail polish. These products are being tested to see how effective they are in preventing and treating nail problems caused by some chemotherapy drugs.

The study has also been looking at ways to better assess the severity of nail problems as there is no universally agreed way of doing this. This project has already developed two new assessment measures which have been tested for validity and reliability and are being further tested with trial participants.

Dr Audrey Morrison and Dr Cathy Hutchison, who have been conducting the study are very positive in finding solutions at the end of the study and will be able to recommend best practice for managing nail toxicities, and providing evidence-based advice to patients. They aim to have a standardised way of assessing nail problems which could be transferable to other cancer centres and to other specialist areas such as podiatry.

HER 2 IN BREAST CANCER
A NEW PROGNOSTIC AND PREDICTIVE FACTOR

BY DR. ELIZABETH MALLON, PATHOLOGIST
THE WESTERN INFIRMARY, GLASGOW

“Breast Cancer is not a single disease. Every breast cancer shows variable features and looks slightly different microscopically, just as individuals look and behave differently, so does an individuals breast cancer.

By looking at certain features of a cancer, the Breast Team are able to predict how each cancer is likely to behave and which treatments are required for each individual. Many of these factors have been known about for a long period of time. In the last few years a new factor has emerged as a possible new prognostic and predictive factor in breast cancer.

Prognostic factors determine if a tumour is likely to have a good outlook or poor survival. Predictive factors determine if a tumour is likely to respond to certain treatments.

This new Factor is a protein known as Her 2 (C-erb B 2, Her 2 neu). This protein is present in all normal cells. Studies have demonstrated that in approximately 30% of breast cancers the tumour cells have an excess of this protein. It has been suggested that in these cases the tumours are likely to behave more aggressively, not respond as well to certain treatments and respond more favourably to other treatments. There is also a new form of treatment available which only has effect in tumours with too much Her 2.

At the Western Infirmary our team hopes to use the money raised by BREAST CANCER 2000 to look for this protein in women we have treated with breast cancer. This test was not routinely performed in the past. We are very lucky in Glasgow to have treated large numbers of women with breast cancer and have good follow up information on the treatment received and the wellbeing of each woman. We hope to correlate the results of Her 2 staining with the treatment each individual woman has received and the outcome of that treatment.

We are most grateful to BREAST CANCER 2000 for providing us with the large sum of money required to perform these tests. We hope that the results produced by this study will enable us to treat cases more effectively in the future.”

Dr Elizabeth Mallon
Consultant Pathologist

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