An amazing £8,000 has been donated to our Breast Cancer Unit and will be used to help identify women who have a strong family history of breast cancer and who could benefit from extra screening and genetic testing.
The cheque was presented by Marie Lee, Gill Craig and Bev Steer from Bosom Buddies, to our Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeons Tracey Irvine and Jonathan Horsnell.
The Ladies Night event has been a fundraiser for our Breast Cancer Unit for an incredible 23 years.
This year, the money raised will be used to support the Breast Family History Service at the Royal Surrey who analyse patients’ family history and identify those women at increased risk of breast cancer. For these women early breast screening can aid prevention or early detection of breast cancer. For many this involves mammograms from an earlier age than the national screening programme. For some women, with a very high risk, genetic testing is offered to identify genetic changes, including the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes, which greatly increase a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Jonathan Horsell, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon said: “Breast Cancer is not usually due to identifiable genetic changes, but we know that there are a small number of families where it is. Identifying these women early can allow for preventative measures to be discussed that greatly reduces their risk of breast and other related cancers. For other women where a genetic change is less likely, but they still have a significant family history, early screening is offered to identify changes as quickly as possible.
“This donation will allow us to modernise the method of assessment to detect whether an individual has a strong family history of breast cancer and who could receive extra screening and genetic testing.”
To start the process, patients complete a family history form so that the team can make a personalised family history chart that is used to determine their risk of developing breast cancer. If the risk is low, normal breast cancer screening (three yearly mammograms from 50-71 years of age) is advised for the patient. If it is medium risk, the patient will be offered annual mammographies from 40 years old and if it is high risk then genetic testing can be discussed.
For those women who are then identified as carrying a significant genetic change, Royal Surrey runs a regional clinic on a monthly basis that brings together genetic counsellors, breast cancer specialist nurses, a clinical psychologist, gynaecologists, plastic surgeons and oncoplastic breast surgeons to support these women and help them reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Jonathan added: “The clinic is a unique set up for these women who are at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
“It brings together a range of specialists in one place at the same time, so that in a single visit women will be able to find out all the information they need to make informed decisions around the options available.
“In terms of cancer we know that prevention and early detection saves lives and we hope that providing this service will support this.”
For more information, visit https://www.royalsurreybreastunit.com/.