The PAH NHS Trust – Breast Unit at St Margaret’s Hospital
The Breast Unit is one of the largest breast cancer clinical trials facilities in Hertfordshire, Essex and North London. The charity in has raised over £3 million, which has been used to purchase specialist equipment, introduce new initiatives and fund further research into the breast cancer. We continue to raise money for breast cancer clinical trials in order that we can improve understanding and help find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of breast cancer.
We are based at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow and St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping where approximately 350 new patients are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Of these, 10% would benefit from treatments that are not standard on the NHS. The charity hopes to fund these treatment options and train specialists in providing the new treatments. The charity wishes to raise sufficient funds to build a central cancer unit covering diagnosis and treatment to ensure continuity in care. We bid nationally to be one of the main centres for conducting breast cancer trials and for the patients in the local area. This means that they could have access to investigational medicines that previously were only available when participating in clinical trials in hospitals based in central London.
Charitable donations contribute to the following four projects:
- Clinical Trials The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAH NHS Trust) has conducted over 40 breast cancer clinical trials, funded by charitable donations. The trials have led to drugs getting approval by the FDA and the EU as standard treatment. Some of the drugs trialled in our unit include: Herceptin, Lapatinib, Trastuzumab Emtansine (Kadycla), Everolimus and Exemestane – long before they were approved.
The PAH NHS Trust is also one of the six NHS hospitals involved in the TARGIT-B trial, which involves introducing IORT (Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy) for treatment. The use of IORT allows the radiotherapy boost dose to be applied precisely to the tumour site during surgery. This means fewer hospital appointments at the radiotherapy centre for patients (reduced by eight visits), with the convenience of a single dose during therapy.
- Fabulous and Beautiful Our “beauty parlour” for ladies undergoing treatment for cancer. The psychological aspects of a patient’s changing appearance can be detrimental to their overall well-being. By offering pamper days with make-up and styling advice, we help patients maintain their self-esteem while undergoing treatment, helping to improve their overall quality of life. The session takes place on the first Monday of every month at Harlow Leisure Zone.
- Moving on Pathway programme by MBV This mind, body and vitality programme gives ladies the knowledge needed to move onto a new life of health and happiness and master techniques to feel the best that they can. The six week course addresses nutrition, fitness, mind fitness, relaxation and styling and gives patients the tools to move on from their diagnosis of cancer. The programme takes place at St Margaret’s Hospital.
- Exercise Programme A six week programme introducing physical activity as part of recovery. The classes are small, private and take place in the gym at St Margaret’s Hospital. For follow-up, patients are also invited to attend exercise classes weekly at the Norman Booth Centre in Harlow, free of charge. By 2018, we hope to expand the classes to patients in Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Epping and Dunmow.