Love Your Nodes
Making life easier for our breast cancer patients
My WiSH Charity launched our Love Your Nodes campaign in the July of 2016 in conjunction with the Bury Free Press.
Our aim was to raise £25,000 for a SentiMag machine to help with the removal of lymph nodes for our breast cancer patients.
Every year up to 250 people have breast cancer operations at the West Suffolk Hospital but, for some, this lifesaving surgery comes with a cost due to the difficulty the surgeon faces in removing lymph nodes.
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer the surgeon often needs to remove the first lymph node to see if the cancer has spread further. Currently this procedure is undertaken using a blue dye method. This can be problematic as sometimes the dye reaches several nodes or none at all making the surgeons decision tricky and often resulting in the removal of many nodes to insure the targeted first node is definitely removed. While this achieves the result required to ensure that the surgeon can give a correct diagnosis it comes with life changing consequences for many patients.
One in four of these patients can be left with lymphoedema, a debilitating complication which can cause them problems for the rest of their lives. Lymphoedema sufferers experience severe swelling caused by the build-up of lymphatic fluid which, because of no longer having sufficient lymph nodes, cannot drain away. This will then require regular treatment to drain the affected area.
The SentiMag is an amazing machine which targets the first node allowing the surgeon to know exactly which one to remove. Used in conjunction with the blue dye, the surgeon will also inject microscopic magnetic beads into the patient's breast. These beads will then run through the lymphatic system collecting in the first node and therefore pinpointing exactly which one to remove. This then prevents the need to cherry pick other nodes to ensure the correct one is removed and therefore lowers the risk of lymphodema dramatically.
Mr Eamonn Coveney is one of the consultant surgeons here at the West Suffolk Hospital and is the driving force behind this new machine. Having trialled the Sentimag he knew that this machine would enhance the treatment currently given to patients. “It’s quicker, there is less operative time and less damage to the armpit. There is a shorter recovery period, less risk of complication in the long term and no risk of radiation”.
Here at My WiSH Charity we know that you will always get the best care at the West Suffolk Hospital but our aim is to further enhance that care and the SentiMag is the perfect example of this. Sue Smith, fundraising manager said “Dealing with breast cancer is enough for anyone. This machine will help to ensure that patients aren’t left with a life changing problem afterwards”.
Just six months after our launch we were thrilled to announce that we had reached our target. The Sentimag machine is now in our theatres and helping patients on a weekly basis.
The campaign hasn't, however, ended there. Each vial of beads costs £200 so we will continue to fundraise to ensure the costs of these are covered to help all the future patients at West Suffolk Hospital.
If you are interested in supporting our Love Your Nodes Campaign you can contact the fundraising team on 01284 712952 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also join our campaign online at www.justgiving.com/loveyournodes