Survivors aid the victims of cancer

Breast cancer research study, consultant oncologist Jo Dent (left) and clinical nurse specialist Veronica Allinson
Breast cancer research study, consultant oncologist Jo Dent (left) and clinical nurse specialist Veronica Allinson
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BREAST cancer survivors from Calderdale have been taking part in research into follow-up care.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s consultant oncologist Dr Jo Dent and clinical nurse specialist Veronica Allinson led the project, which involved newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients who have a low risk of cancer returning and did not need chemotherapy.

After surgery, patients attended educational sessions, along with an annual mammography and rapid access to a clinical appointment if they had any concerns, instead of having to attend five years of follow-up appointments in hospital.

Dr Dent said: “We have been aware for some time that the practice of routine follow-up appointments often fails to meet the needs of breast cancer survivors and may be unnecessary for healthy women.

“This approach makes sure that breast cancer survivors get the care, support and information they need to lead active, healthy lives, without unnecessary visits to hospital.”

Patients have given such a positive response the trust is now using it for all low-risk patients.

Irene Firth, of Stainland, Halifax, took part in the programme after breast cancer surgery in September 2008.

She said: “I made a good recovery and I don’t believe that I would have benefited from attending a hospital appointment just to tell the doctor that I was feeling well.

“But it was reassuring to know, that at any time, I could pick up the phone and speak to a clinical nurse specialist if I had any worries.”

The study was in collaboration with national charity Breast Cancer Care, the Yorkshire Cancer Network and the University of Huddersfield - to link with the National Cancer Survivorship Initiative (NCSI).