It is a huge honour to become President of the Association of Breast Surgery.
The Association is in good health and continues to go from strength to strength, and now with over 1800 members the Association represents the overwhelming majority of health professionals involved in the delivery of surgical care for benign and malignant breast disease in the UK. Our members see more than 500,000 new patient referrals each year and are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of over 55,000 breast cancer per year. The Covid pandemic has placed a huge strain on the delivery of diagnostic services and on the treatment of those newly diagnosed, but our members have continued to provide excellent care in the most trying of circumstances. The Association was able to produce timely guidance on breast cancer treatment during the pandemic which was helpful in this most extraordinary of circumstances.
The Association’s main committees; Clinical Practice and Standards, Education and Training, Academic and Research, Aesthetic Breast Surgery and International are all very active, and I would like to thank all those involved for their hard work. We are looking to restart our educational courses in the near future. The guidance platform, overseen by the Clinical Practice and Standards Committee, has been updated with new and revised guidance, making this a very helpful resource for the diagnosis and treatment of breast disease.
The Academic and Research Committee continue to work on our goal to have a clinical trial available and offered to every patient diagnosed with breast cancer. The Association continues to fund research ‘seed corn’ grants with a further two studies funded this year from a group of excellent applications. Meanwhile iBRANet, a network of breast and reconstructive surgeons committed to “no innovation without evaluation”, continues to innovate and assess new devices and techniques. Surgical breast research has never been stronger in the UK.
The Association has been asked for a proposal for a breast surgery curriculum and continues to work with the GMC and other stakeholders on this. Currently our trainees spend much of their time in training learning skills they will never use as consultants, and a surgical breast sub-specialty will allow them more time to acquire the skills they will need to be a modern breast surgeon.
The Association of Breast Surgery remains the voice of Breast Surgery. Please let us hear your voice so we can continue to work to improve patient care. If you would like to be even more involved, then sign up for one of our networks, or apply for a committee or trustee position at the next elections.