What is the fund about?
Currently, ladies treated for breast cancer in Somerset would have an operation to take out a couple of lymph glands from their armpit as well as having the breast cancer removed at the same time. The lymph glands are examined under a microscope which currently takes 10 days. If those lymph glands don’t have any cancer cells in there is no need for a further operation; however, if the glands do have cancer cells in the lady needs to come back for a further operation to remove all the lymph glands 3-4 weeks later. Not only does this create a lot of anxiety waiting 10 days for the result but it delays further breast cancer treatment if needed.
A new system has been developed called OSNA which is a machine that looks at the DNA in the lymph glands during the first operation. This means that we can tell ladies who don’t have cancer cells in their lymph glands that they are fine at the end of the operation. It also means that we can remove all of the glands if we need to in the same operation which cuts down the time to any further treatment needed. As Jasper Gill, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at Musgrove Park Hospital commented, ‘it will make a huge difference to the ladies in Somerset with breast cancer’.