Patient Information

On this page you will find links to support organisations and patient resources.

Breast Cancer Surgery


In recent years there have been enormous advances in the treatment of breast cancer. However, few people appreciate that surgery remains the foundation of treatment and is responsible for curing many people.

Whilst there have been many significant breakthroughs with new cancer drugs, less is known about the advances in cancer surgery over this time. Breast cancer surgery has changed so that complete removal of tumours can now be achieved as well as a good cosmetic result. As a result, more people are now able to lead normal and fulfilling lives.

The Association of Breast Surgery (ABS) is working to improve surgery and standards of care for people with breast cancer. Along with the other specialist surgical societies, we have promoted specialisation of UK surgeons to ensure that patients see surgeons with a special interest in breast cancer. The ABS will continue to promote earlier diagnosis, develop better treatment and guidelines to ensure high quality treatment for all in the UK.

Whilst we are happy to provide information about the ABS and its role, we are unable to provide recommendations of individual surgeons to members of the public. If you have any concerns about symptoms you may be experiencing you should contact your GP.


ABS Response to the Conviction of Ian Paterson

 

Ian Paterson was found guilty of 17 counts of wounding with intent and three counts of unlawful wounding at Nottingham Crown Court on 28th April 2017.

The Association of Breast Surgery would like to express its sympathy to the patients who have suffered as a result of Mr Paterson’s actions.

Although Mr Paterson has never been a member of the Association of Breast Surgery, the organisation views this incident very seriously. Work is ongoing to review the events that have occurred and identify lessons that can be learnt, both general and those specific to breast surgery. These will be disseminated to our members and those involved in breast care.

We would like to reassure patients that this incident reflects the actions of a single individual surgeon working outside acceptable standards of care and does not represent the current standard of breast care in the UK. The first priority of our members is always the health, wellbeing and safety of patients.

The Association of Breast Surgery constantly endeavours to raise the already high standards of breast surgery by providing members with ongoing education and training with support for research and national audits. These collectively aim to ensure the delivery of a high standard of breast surgery care throughout the UK. You can read a list of recommendations for patients here.


Information for patients - Oncoplastic breast reconstruction: guidelines for best practice


This information for patients has been produced with Breast Cancer Care to complement the Oncoplastic Breast Reconstruction: Guidelines for Best Practice. They aim to ensure that all breast cancer patients are well informed about oncoplastic breast reconstruction and set out what all breast cancer patients can expect from their breast reconstruction team.

To download the guidelines please click here.


Information on the use of biological tissue matrices in breast implant reconstruction


Lifecell have produced information about the use of biological tissue matrices in breast implant reconstruction to provide professional and patient advocacy groups with relevant information for patient support materials. To view this information please click here.


Information for those considering cosmetic surgery


The Royal College of Surgeons has launched patient resources on its website to offer advice to individuals considering cosmetic surgery on how to choose the right surgeon and hospital and to explain the risks and possible complications of undergoing surgery. The web pages also include a section on questions to ask a surgeon before consenting to an operation, a downloadable checklist and three short animation films.


Pregnancy and Breast Cancer

 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists produced this information about pregnancy and breast cancer for patients in 2014.


Patients may find the following websites of use.

 

Breast Cancer Care

Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist UK-wide charity providing support for women, men, family and friends affected by breast cancer.

We’ve been caring for them, supporting them, and campaigning on their behalf since 1973. Today, we continue to offer a unique range of support including reliable information, one-to-one support over the phone and online from nurses and people who’ve been there. We also offer local group support across the UK.

From the moment someone notices something isn’t right, through to their treatment and beyond, we’re there to help people affected by breast cancer feel more in control.

Visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call us on 0808 800 6000.

 

Flat Friends UK

Flat Friends UK is a registered charity dedicated to supporting women who have had mastectomy surgery without breast reconstruction, including those who may face such decisions now or in the future, due to either a breast cancer diagnosis or preventative surgery. We see living breast free as a positive choice. We have a website, public Facebook page and a closed chat group for women to connect and discuss the issues that affect them.


Contact us via email on support@flatfriends.org.uk or via www.flatfriends.org.uk.

The Haven

The Haven is a charity that supports anyone affected by breast cancer, either from its three Haven centres in London, Leeds and Hereford, over the telephone or via the website. A "Haven at Home" DVD and audio CD is also available. All the services are free of charge.

The charity provides a wide range of therapies and approaches to help people cope with the physical and emotional effects of breast cancer and its treatment. Specialist cancer nurses and experts in emotional support, complementary therapies, nutrition, exercise and stress-reduction, provide a tailor-made programme of supportive care to help people feel better

People can access the service before, during or after medical treatment for cancer and help is also available to family members and friends.

For more information please call 020 7384 0099 or view our website www.thehaven.org.uk

Independent Cancer Patients' Voice

Independent Cancer Patients' Voice (ICPV) is a patient advocate group independent of established UK cancer charities and aware of the value of medical research to both public health and to the national economy.

Our aim is to improve existing treatments for every cancer patient and develop new treatments by bringing the patients’ voice into clinical research.

We do this by:

  • Educating, supporting and mentoring patients so that they can have an equal voice with clinicians and researchers and

  • Bringing the patients’ voice to clinicians and researchers – i.e. by being patient advocates in clinical research so that this research takes into account the patients’ (and carers, relatives etc) viewpoint to improve outcomes (cancer mortality, morbidity, quality of life) for all people affected by cancer (patients, relatives, carers).

We are informed and committed patient advocates and we can play an increasingly effective role in educating both potential patients and professional staff as to the benefits of clinical trials and research. The core members of our group are located throughout the UK and we have a good mix of business, healthcare and scientific knowledge and experience. We also have a strong network of individuals and groups of cancer (and non-cancer) patients to help us to determine the research questions that cancer patients would like answered and to raise the profile of clinical trials among the patient community and thus increase accrual as well as improve outcomes for future patients.

We have an active online discussion group and members where members can exchange views and review research papers.

We have the full support of the professional members of the NCRI Breast Clinical Study Group (and from many research centres) with a keen interest in teaching us at study days on the science/biology/genetics of cancer and the development of new treatments.

To get in touch, please visit the ICPV website www.independentcancerpatientsvoice.org.uk.

Macmillan

When you have cancer, you don’t just worry about what will happen to your body, you worry about what will happen to your life. At Macmillan, we know how a cancer diagnosis can affect everything and we’re here to support you through it. From help with money worries and advice about work, to someone who’ll listen if you just want to talk, we’ll be there. We’ll help you make the choices you need to take back control, so you can start to feel like yourself again. No one should face cancer alone.

For support, information or if you just want to chat, call us free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am–8pm) or visit www.macmillan.org.uk.