Shropshire Star

Breast surgeon awarded £150k for research to improve breast cancer outcomes

A breast surgeon has been awarded a £150,000 research grant for her work to improve breast cancer outcomes and enhance lifestyle support for patients.

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Blossom Lake

Blossom Lake, a breast surgical specialist, is one of five research fellows at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) – which runs both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

The National Institute for Health Research awarded the grant, and part of the work will be carrying out national surveys in collaboration with the charity Breast Cancer Now.

The aim of the work, which links in with Birmingham and Keele Universities, is to understand what lifestyle and behaviour change support is offered to and taken up by breast cancer survivors, and to learn what works well and what improvements could be made.

The study will aim to provide key information for NHS services on how best to offer and provide lifestyle behaviour change support to people who have had breast cancer.

In addition Blossom has built up a 'seldom-heard voices' community with voluntary partners to address issues around stigma linked to breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and survival.

She has worked hard over the last 18 months to engage with different communities to provide education and to help identify gaps in services.

The work has been supported by a £15,000 Macmillan Cancer Support grant.

Blossom, who was winner of the Health Equalities category in SaTH’s Annual Trust Celebratory Awards said: “I am passionate about ensuring the best outcomes for our patients following a breast cancer diagnosis.

“There is a growing body of evidence that lifestyle behaviour change support may be key to improving those outcomes.

“Research is crucial. The grant will help us to find out and learn what works well and what can be improved for breast cancer patients and services. This will help us learn how to provide individualised lifestyle behaviour change support.

“I also want to ensure equal access to treatment and identify barriers that can contribute to less favourable outcomes after breast cancer diagnoses. My work with the Seldom Heard Voices Forum has helped to understand stigma surrounding cancer diagnosis and raise breast cancer awareness within minority ethnic groups in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.”

Dr John Jones, medical director at SaTH, said: “Our trust is focused on putting research and innovation at the forefront of everything we do, as it can lead to better outcomes and faster recoveries for our patients.

“It is fantastic news that Blossom has secured this grant which will help her to press ahead with research on how to improve outcomes for patients following a breast cancer diagnosis and it could help with the improvements in the support that we offer.”