Help us to shine light on Breast Cancer

Our funding appeal for an innovative new research technique for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Appeal

We are Hitting Cancer for Six again this summer with Gloucestershire Cricket! We hope to raise funding needed to kickstart a research study which has the potential to make a real impact for patients with breast cancer, the most common cancer in the UK. #HitCancerForSix! A big thank you to everyone who has supported our research appeal so far! Thanks to Gloucestershire County Cricket Club for supporting our appeal and a special thanks to Growers United FC who kick started the appeal with a fantastic donation of £6500. Find out more and help us to shine a light on cancer >> http://bit.ly/2YTU7HP

Posted by Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity on Tuesday, 16 July 2019

This summer we aim to build on the success of our previous ‘Hit Cancer for Six!’ appeals and raise funding needed to kickstart a research study which has the potential to make a real impact for patients with breast cancer, the most common cancer in the UK.

It has recently been predicted that 1 in 2 of us will experience cancer in our lifetime, but the potential to treat cancer patients successfully is improving year on year thanks to advances in treatment and a focus on early diagnosis; and our dedicated research team have a strong track record of identifying new techniques which can benefit cancer patients.

“With breast cancer it’s really important to know whether any cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, because it changes the way treatment is given. At the moment we need to take out lymph nodes in order to find out whether cancer has spread, but this requires invasive surgery. This new research has the potential to change this, with an early diagnosis in clinic before surgery even takes place.”

Sarah Vestey, Consultant breast surgeon

Using specially developed fibre-optic probes which can target tissue below the skin, the research team have previously demonstrated that it is possible to tell the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue by measuring the light emitted when a low power laser is shone upon the tissue; a technique called Raman spectroscopy. This study will develop the diagnostic technique further and demonstrate the potential to benefit people with breast cancer.

With 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer, which also affects men, the technique has the potential to make a big impact with many advantages over traditional methods:

  • An instant diagnosis: Currently a breast cancer patient might have surgery to remove lymph nodes which are then analysed by the pathology team through microscopic examination of tissue. This is a detailed process which takes time, but an ‘optical biopsy’ could potentially be taken to diagnose cancer with highly accurate results within 2 seconds.
  • A better experience for patients by reducing the need for surgery: it is not currently possible to exclude the presence of cancer in the lymph nodes without surgery. Using light probes would result in a less invasive approach to diagnosis, which could enable nodes to be analysed in clinic to identify any with cancer present rather than through surgery.
  • Reducing long-term side effects for patients as a result of surgery: To find out the stage of a breast cancer a patient will usually undergo lymph node surgery, as the nodes will need to be removed for testing to understand if cancer has spread. Removing lymph nodes can result in Lymphedema (chronic swelling) which can have a lasting impact to someone’s health. The method we are researching would enable surgery to be targeted to only those nodes which need to be removed, minimising potential side effects for the patient.

“With breast cancer it’s really important to know whether any cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, because it changes the way treatment is given. At the moment we need to take out lymph nodes in order to find out whether cancer has spread, but this requires invasive surgery. The first surgery also leaves a scar; if we do find cancer in the lymph nodes we will often need to go back for further surgery which is then more difficult because of the scar tissue. This new research has the potential to change this, with an early diagnosis in clinic before surgery even takes place.” Sarah Vestey, Consultant breast surgeon

“We use a microscope to analyse whether cancer is present in the node. This is detailed and skilled work and it takes time. This new technique could really help to get a faster diagnosis for patients”. Dr Patricia V Vergani MD FRCPath, Consultant Histopathologist

With early detection a key factor in the successful treatment of cancer, this technique has real potential to improve the speed of diagnosis and treatment for future breast cancer patients.

You can help us to Shine a Light on Breast Cancer

There are many ways to help our Breast Cancer appeal, including:

  • Making a donation to support our appeal
  • Taking on a fundraising challenge such as a sponsored run or walk, you can start fundraising on JustGiving
  • Organising fundraising events at your local school, club or community group.
  • Support transformational projects in the hospitals with a gift in your Will.

Find out more about ways to get involved or contact us today to find out more!

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