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Derby Hospitals awarded £2.9m to lead cancer study

From left to right - Mr. Amit Goyal & Dr. Vaughan Keeley

Derby Hospitals has been awarded a £2.9m grant to fund a project investigating the necessity of removing lymph glands in the armpit or treating them with radiotherapy in patients with breast cancer.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme awarded the funding to Mr. Amit Goyal, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon & Associate Professor at Royal Derby Hospital (RDH), for his project POSNOC.

Mr Goyal said: “We are very privileged to have been awarded this grant to investigate whether  treatment to the armpit adds any further benefit to chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Currently, women with breast cancer spread to 1 or 2 lymph glands undergo a second operation to remove all the lymph glands in the armpit (axillary node clearance) or radiotherapy to the armpit. Armpit treatment damages lymphatic drainage from the arm, and women may subsequently develop arm swelling (lymphoedema), restricted shoulder movement, pain, numbness and other sensory problems. As breast cancer is now detected earlier, and we now have much better and more effective chemotherapy and hormone therapy than in the past, armpit treatment may no longer be necessary."

"POSNOC is a ten year project that will recruit 1900 women from more than 50 hospitals across UK. This study will involve women who will have had surgical treatment of their breast cancer and been found to have 1 or 2 lymph glands in their armpit containing cancer. If the trial shows that armpit treatment is no longer needed, we could spare women unnecessary treatment, and avoid the long term problems it causes."

Colleague, Dr Teresa Grieve, Assistant Director of Research and Development at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Mr. Goyal is part of Derby Hospitals’ research team which strives to be at the forefront of medical and surgical advances.

“We are very fortunate to have him on board. I have seen how hard he and his team have worked on this project and am very proud that the National Institute for Health Research has recognised this too.”

Funding Acknowledgement:

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme (project number 12/35/17)

Department of Health Disclaimer:

The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Health Technology Assessment Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health.