One busy working mum from Bebington, Wirral is coming to the end of the first stage of potentially life-changing research which could benefit bone cancer patients across the region.
Beverley Atherton is a Diagnostic Research Radiographer at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and has been looking in to ways of preventing patients with bone cancer from developing a condition called Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression, which means they can go from walking around and carrying out general day-to-day tasks, to potentially being paralysed if urgent treatment is not given. The condition is rare but serious.
Beverley commented; "Around five to ten per cent of all bone cancer patients could develop this condition but if we can continue to spot the signs earlier, that's a huge number of people who will hopefully have a much better quality of life."
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is putting an increasing focus on the importance of research and clinical trials and Beverley is one of a team of skilled allied health professionals employed to work closely with patients for research purposes. After securing a scholarship in clinical research at the University of Manchester, as well as further funding from the College of Radiographers, Beverley has been leading the team of research specialists on this innovative project.
The mum of two went on to say; "I've seen first-hand the way in which this condition can affect patients and the consequences can be devastating for not just the patient, but also their extended family. I wanted to focus my research on trying to spot tell-tale signs during routine visits to the cancer centre for bone scans as the symptoms can be very minor meaning it's not always possible for doctors to act until it's too late.
"Myself and the team have been running the research project for three months to try and pin point when a patient starts displaying signs of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression. We've done this through a detailed questionnaire which is presented to bone cancer patients at various stages within their treatment plan.
"It's been a fantastic process to go through and I'm confident that with the work we've done to date, we can at least help develop a stronger set of guidelines to understand more about the signs and symptoms of the condition to assess patients as they receive treatment."
Proposals to build a brand new Clatterbridge Cancer Centre next to the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool will further strengthen the first class centre's research offering to patients, allowing the centre to be at the forefront of clinical trials and innovative projects which could benefit patients worldwide.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is one of the largest, networked cancer centres in the UK, employing 860 specialists and treating 27,000 patients each year.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is one of the UK's leading providers of non-surgical oncology treatments including pioneering chemotherapy, radiotherapy and proton therapy, combining its world-class clinical services, research and academic excellence, it provides the highest quality, specialist cancer diagnosis and care for more than 2.3million residents in Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, the Isle of Man and parts of Lancashire as well as national and international cancer patients.
In August 2012, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre was rated in the top 20 per cent of organisations in the country for overall treatment and care, according to the latest National Cancer Patient Experience Survey results.
Via Wirral People