QA Hospital to trial new treatment for breast cancer side effects

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Paige Howitt

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THE Queen Alexandra Hospital will take part in a new clinical trial aiming to reduce the impact of side-effects associated with breast cancer treatment.

The trial will investigate how cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be used to treat patients who are experiencing hot flushes and night sweats.

The Queen Alexandra Hospital is one of six involved in the trial.

The Queen Alexandra Hospital is one of six involved in the trial.

Both are common side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and anti-hormone drugs.

Researchers have shown CBT, a type of ‘talking therapy’, helps women regain control over the symptoms.

The hospital is one of six across the UK taking part in the trial, which will involve up to 160 women undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Maria Noblet, consultant nurse at the QA Hospital, said: ‘We are delighted that the hospital is participating in this trial, and hope it can make a real difference to patients in the region who are experiencing hot flushes and night sweats as a side-effect of their breast cancer treatment.

We look forward to the results of this trial, and hope that it will enable much wider access to CBT among breast cancer patients.

Maria Noblet, consultant nurse at the QA Hospital

‘We look forward to the results of this trial, and hope that it will enable much wider access to CBT among breast cancer patients.’

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), normally offered to women experiencing hot flushes during the menopause, cannot be used by breast cancer patients as it can increase the risk of the disease returning.

The side effects are also often more extreme and long-lasting in cancer patients than those experienced in natural menopause.

Currently CBT can only be given to groups by trained clinical psychologists and there is nothing considered a universal gold standard for breast cancer treatment, so support to help patients manage symptoms varies across the country.

The study aims to find out if CBT can be used successfully in treating side effects of breast cancer treatment. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The study aims to find out if CBT can be used successfully in treating side effects of breast cancer treatment. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The three-year trial, led by Professor Deborah Fenlon from Swansea University, will investigate whether the same CBT can be delivered effectively by local breast cancer nurses.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of charity Breast Cancer Now which has provided £300,000 in research funding, said CBT was a ‘valuable, cost-effective’ way to manage side effects.

Half of women in the trial will receive group CBT from a breast cancer nurse, and the other half will whatever support they would normally receive.

Any women being treated at the QA Hospital who are experiencing the side effects are encouraged to ask their nurse about the study.