Musgrove Park Hospital pledges to provide excellent secondary breast cancer care for local patients - 18 August 2014

Musgrove Park Hospital pledges to provide excellent secondary breast cancer care for local patients - 18 August 2014

Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge 2 Two of the UK’s leading breast cancer charities – Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Care – have teamed up with Musgrove Park Hospital to help identify areas of good practice as well as improve services for people diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. 

The hospital has signed up to the Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge, a commitment to providing the best possible care to patients diagnosed with secondary breast cancer. Improvements were identified through patient questionnaires, and patients were also included in discussions to agree on the best way to go about implementing the required changes.

Some of the improvements Musgrove Park Hospital has committed to include providing a dedicated secondary breast cancer information stand in their cancer centre, as well as developing a patient hand-held record specifically for people with secondary breast cancer.  

Musgrove’s Director of Nursing and Governance, Carol Dight, said: “Working in partnership with Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Care has enabled us to get a real understanding of how we can improve the care we are giving to our patients with secondary breast cancer.

“While we always endeavour to provide the best possible care for our patients it is important that we are constantly looking at how we can improve our services, based on our patients’ experiences.”

Of the 50,000 women and 400 men diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the UK, it is still not known exactly how many of these patients will go on to develop secondary breast cancer – cancer that has spread beyond the breast or armpit to other parts of the body.  Secondary breast cancer cannot be cured but it can be treated and controlled, sometimes for a number of years.

Catherine Wood, Senior Involvement Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer said: “Patient engagement is at the heart of this initiative; we hope that by joining forces with Breast Cancer Care, we can make a real difference to the lives of people living with secondary breast cancer across the UK, and the friends and families that surround them.

“With the introduction of increasing numbers of new and improved treatments, many people can live for months and sometimes years with secondary breast cancer, but they do have very specific needs.  In order to ensure their needs are met, and that the best possible care is provided, it is imperative that the voices of these patients are heard.”

Sylvia Ward, Head of UK-Wide Services at Breast Cancer Care said: “We know from our specialist work in this field that people living with a secondary breast cancer diagnosis need care and support to meet their complex needs.  Many tell us they feel invisible and ignored.  Depression and anxiety can be common experiences amongst this group.  They may be dealing with ongoing side effects of treatment like chronic fatigue, and are living with uncertainty about the future and face difficult decisions about end-of-life care.

“Despite this, so many people across the UK tell us that the support they had when diagnosed and treated for primary breast cancer just isn’t there after a secondary breast cancer diagnosis and the Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge aims to address this.

Pictured from left to right are staff from the Beacon Centre: Dr John Graham, Consultant, Clinical Oncologist, Dr Hilary Barlow, Specialty Doctor, Clinical Oncology, Amanda Morrish, Macmillan Secondary Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist, Dr Saiqa Spensley, Consultant, Clinical Oncologist, Dr Urmila Barthakur, Consultant, Clinical Oncologist.