The Local Fight

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AROUND 50 local women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. The breast unit, which is based at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, sees patients referred for screening and those who have a lump or breast pain.

Clinical nurse specialist in breast care Sharon Bodkin started at the unit in January 2008.

She has recently been joined by consultant radiologist Anne Guilding and superintendent mammographer Joanne Wright.

‘It is important for women to check their breasts because the majority of breast lumps are found by the women themselves,’ said Sharon Bodkin.

‘Although most of these will be benign, it is important that women become familiar with how their breasts look and feel normally at different times of the month. If any changes are detected, the women should contact their GP for advice.  

‘More women are now surviving breast cancer due to early detection and improved treatments.’

She stressed the importance of the breast awareness five-point code.
Guernsey screens women for breast cancer every two years, whereas in the UK it is only every three.

This decision was taken because of information suggesting two years was the best screening interval because of the resultant reduction in mortality rates.
‘The health authorities made the decision to run a two-yearly screening programme based on the best available evidence at the time,’ she said.
Treatment is decided by the multidisciplinary team and includes surgery and chemotherapy treatment locally, she said. Radiotherapy and reconstructive surgery are performed off-island.

‘The clinical nurse specialist for breast care acts as a key worker for all patients diagnosed with breast cancer,’ she said.  

‘There is also a local support group for the women and a separate support group for family and friends.’

Globe article 13th October 2010

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