Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer Awareness Month As part of breast cancer awareness month Mr Ross has published alongside the Genesis in Manchester looking at the role of contralateral mastectomy for breast cancer prevention. (link to publication list). Drawing awareness to the role of prevention and helping patients who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer or a potential risk of breast cancer and providing adequate information is an essential part of care. Only with accurate information will patients be empowered to make their own decisions.

Mr Ross has been featured in BAPRAS voice discussing how patient focused models of care is changing treatment for the better:-

”Breast cancer remains the most common malignancy for women in the UK and the leading cause of death for women aged 34-54. Increasingly genetic testing has been used to help determine risk and target women who can be offered treatment prior to the development of breast cancer. Recommendations are available through the recently published NICE guidance For patients who develop malignancy in one breast genetic testing can also help to determine risk and target women who can be offered treatment to prevent the chance of another malignancy in the opposite or contralateral breast. Although through the 1990s there has been a shift from mastectomy to breast conservation, the rates of mastectomy – especially of the contralateral breast – appear to have increased. The management of the contralateral breast remains controversial and we have recently published evidence to suggest that a survival advantage does exist for patients who are genetically tested positive for the BRCA 1/2 mutation carriers who have chosen to undergo contralateral mastectomy.

Patients are increasingly more aware of the advancements in the management of breast cancer and across the UK there remains a need to provide patients with unbiased, evidence based advice on the pros and cons of contralateral mastectomy. The decisions need to be discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting and require the involvement of dedicated breast care nurses and patient support groups. Together a patient focused model of care will allow patients to make important choices in their own management.

Having encouraged patient empowerment and patient focused groups throughout my career, the Breast Cancer support group ‘Keeping Abreast’ is one example of a successful patient support model. It has enabled a number of my patients, who have helped each other through the reconstructive process, to further develop this patient focused model across cities such as Manchester. Keeping Abreast was founded in 2007 in Norwich, by three women who recognised the need for peer support for women living with breast cancer. It is crucial for women both newly diagnosed with breast cancer and facing the possibility of mastectomy, as well as those considering reconstructive surgery, to meet and talk with women who have been through similar experiences and view reconstructions first hand.&lquo;

The launch in Manchester for keeping abreast was highly successful and there is hope that this avenue of patient delivered care will be developed further in Manchester.