Hinchingbrooke: This month our Breast Care Nurse Specialist was Claire Hall who told us about the merger with Hinchingbrook Hospital in Huntingdon. The Unit there operates differently from Peterborough as their screening is carried out in Addenbrooks Cambridge, so discussions were ongoing as to how the Breast Care Service will be organised in future. As a result of the merger, the Hospitals will be known collectively as North West Anglia Hospitals Trust.
Screening: The age for screening for Breast Cancer has returned to 50 years from 47 years. Screening is carried out every 3 years from then on until the age of seventy when it is necessary to refer yourself.
Tamoxifen: June had heard that Tamoxifen had been ‘taken over’. Claire said this was not the case, some women are switched over to different medication depending on their medical history during treatment and these like Tamoxifen are taken as a preventative measure for 5-10 years.
Karen Scholes, Oncology Research Nurse Peterborough City Hospital: Karen trained as a nurse in 1990 and works with Dr Macadam on 15 clinical trials at the moment which focus on Breast Cancer. She explained that a clinical trial may test new treatments, ways to reduce side effects of treatment or to control symptoms. They may also investigate the causes of cancer and new ways of preventing, diagnosing or screening for cancer.
Clinical trials: are voluntary and before joining a trial a doctor or researcher must get your permission and ensure that you understand what is involved before you sign the consent form. In Breast cancer trials this could involve taking tissue or blood samples.
Denise asked how the hospital chooses which trials to take part in? Karen said through Dr Macadam’s reputation as lead Oncology Consultant and our nearness to Addenbrooks so that patients and facilities can be combined. Current trials are listed in the newsletter pdf.
AOB: Val is planning her annual Strawberry Tea event for 24th June with an addition to the tombola and plant stall of ‘name the Teddy’ competition