Taking the fear out of breast cancer
WHEN a woman walks through the door of the Breast Unit at the Royal Bolton for the first time, it can be a terrifying moment.
It may be for the family history service if a sibling or parent has breast cancer, for the screening programme or because they have found a lump in their breast.
Whatever the reason, any visit to a cancer unit is understandably daunting.
Breast cancer still kills thousands of women every year.
They are of all ages, but older women are generally more at risk.
And, of course, breast cancer can also affect men.
That’s why the experienced and caring team at the Bolton breast unit work hard to screen, treat and — perhaps, most importantly — support every woman or man throughout the journey.
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Bolton News paid the team a visit to see how they are fighting the most common cancer among women in the UK.
Breast surgeon Jane Ooi has been at the Royal Bolton Hospital since 2006 and says it is important for women to be strong when it comes to checks or screening.
Mrs Ooi explained: “If I could say one thing to people during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it would be don’t be afraid.
“Even though it is the commonest cancer, it is still the most treatable.
“The majority of patients we see we will be help because there are so many more treatments and surgical options available now.
“And because there is so much more publicity, we have a lot more money for research and that’s very exciting for us.
“It means we will be able to help more people get better.
“The sad thing would be if someone does not come for a check or screening because they are frightened. It’s all about the early checks.”
The unit aims to see every woman suspected of having a breast cancer within one week of their referral.
There are three main routes to the unit for patients — either by their GP, by a consultant based at another department in the trust or from the breast screening programme for women aged between 47 and 73.
The team is made up of of radiologists, surgeons, histopathologists, oncologists, radiographic, nursing and clerical staff.
Here, women can be screened and diagnosed and undergo breast surgery and reconstruction of necessary.
One thing that strikes you when you visit the Bolton breast unit is that every member of the team plays a vital role in the patient’s journey.
Victoria Rapp, Mrs Ooi’s secretary, said: “It’s a very tight team here, almost like a
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