Thousands of women with breast cancer could be spared the misery of chemotherapy -- thanks to pioneering work carried out in Llanelli and Swansea. Health regulators have approved a new test which could help decide whether women with early breast cancer need the treatment following surgery.
It would help them avoid the gruelling side effects including nausea, insomnia, hair loss and fatigue. And ITV News has learned that the fresh approach could save the embattled health service up to £10,000 a patient. Megan Boot reports.
Thousands of breast cancer patients could avoid gruelling chemotherapy thanks to research carried out by a Welsh surgeon.
Simon Holt, a breast surgeon at Hywel Dda Local Health Board, led a study into a new test to help determine whether a breast cancer patient needs to have the treatment.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved the 'Oncotype DX' test, which is used in people with certain types of genes and who are assessed as being at intermediate risk of their cancer spreading.
The test measures the presence of biological characteristics in the tumour which may show how likely it is to grow and whether it is likely to spread. Combined with other clinical information, the test will help determine which patients are most suitable for chemotherapy.
Hywel Dda Health Board has responded to the findings set out in a report by the Public Services Ombudsman following a complaint from a woman regarding the treatment her late father received at Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital in December 2008.
The care offered to this patient fell below the standards expected and I would therefore like to apologise to the family again on behalf of the Health Board. We fully accept the findings of the report and have undertaken immediate action to avoid such a situation from happening again.
Since 2008, when this incident occurred, we have put in place numerous measures, including extra training for nurses in diabetes care and a review of the blood monitoring equipment.
We are committed to on-going improvements, specifically for the growing number of patients living with chronic conditions.
– Caroline Oakley, Director of Nursing and Midwifery