Hello my name is Clare Garnsey. I am a Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon based at The Royal Bolton Hospital. ‘Oncoplastic’ means that I am trained to remove breast cancer and to reshape or reconstruct the breast after breast cancer treatment. Nearly all our Greater Manchester breast surgeons are oncoplastic surgeons, which improves the cosmetic outcomes for women having surgery, as part of their breast cancer treatment.
On 1st September 2019, I started a new role for Greater Manchester Cancer as Lead Clinician for Breast Cancer. I still work as a surgeon for most of the week but part of my job is now helping GM Cancer to improve pathways and outcomes for individuals with breast cancer and to promote prevention, early diagnosis and research. I chair the Greater Manchester Breast Pathway Board that meets quarterly to discuss breast cancer management in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire. The board is made-up of service user representatives (patients or carers who have experience of breast cancer care), specialist nurses, allied health professionals (e.g. physiotherapists), surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, GPs, managers and people from the CCGs (clinical commissioning groups). The aim is that we work together to share problems and find solutions to issues affecting breast services around the region.
Some of the issues we want to tackle over the next 3 years are:
- Risk Reducing: Sharing information about how women can reduce their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight and reducing alcohol intake. Standardising the use of cancer prevention drugs for women at high risk of breast cancer, throughout the region
- Early diagnosis: increasing the number of women who attend for breast cancer screening and improving resources for GPs so that they feel confident about when to refer patients on to a specialist breast unit
- Research: Improving the communication between the many great research teams in Greater Manchester to improve the access that patients have to trials, regardless of where they live in the region
- Secondary Breast Cancer (SBC – when cancer has spread to parts of the body outside the breast): Mapping the current SBC service in the region so we know if there is a variation in support depending on where an individual lives. This will provide us with information to improve SBC care in the near future
- Personalised follow up care: Ensuring all patients in the region receive a personalise follow up plan after treatment for breast cancer
I think it is really important for doctors, nurses and patients to be involved in shaping the strategy in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire for breast cancer care. We also want to ensure that individuals receive the same high standard of care wherever they live, so we are working hard to share good practice between different breast units and support each other to improve breast cancer outcomes for the whole of the region.
I hope you find our Twitter take-over week informative – it is the first time we have launched a Twitter take-over at GM Cancer so we are really interested to see how we can best use social media to share information about our work and gather ideas from patients, colleagues, charities and other interested parties. Please like and re-tweet our posts and let’s get some more positive and useful information out there!