Pioneering ‘magic wand’ for Burnley General breast cancer patients

Burnley General Hospital. (s)
Burnley General Hospital. (s)

Breast cancer patients facing lump removal surgery at Burnley General Hospital will be the first in the North-West to benefit from a new procedure thanks to £16,000 of new equipment.

The kit, an ultrasound image-guided “magic wand”, will help doctors carry out a new, advanced lumpectomy procedure known as BLES (Breast Lesion Excision System). It has been bought for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust by cancer treatment charity the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.

BLES allows for minimally invasive surgery, which in some cases could even be carried out under local anaesthetic. As it helps surgeons more accurately pinpoint their patient’s lump with a precision cutting tip wand, less breast tissue is damaged in its removal, which means scarring is kept to a minimum and recovery time is likely to be far quicker.

Trust consultant breast and oncoplastic surgeon Jane McNicholas, who successfully applied to Rosemere for the funding to purchase the BLES kit, said: “A better cosmetic outcome during a first procedure means that there will be less need for subsequent interventions to address the contour defects that can occur when a wider excision is made.

“This is an innovative procedure that is currently not available anywhere else in the North-West. Surgeons and theatre staff have already undergone training and we envisage that women will be able to benefit from BLES on a weekly basis. However, it can only be used for the excision of smaller lumps so may not be appropriate for all women needing a lumpectomy.”

Sue Thompson, Rosemere’s chief officer, added: “We are delighted to be able to help East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Burnley-based breast care team achieve a regional first for the benefit of its patients. BLES is a swifter, less invasive procedure enabling better outcomes in terms of post-op appearance and speedier recovery.”

Rosemere fund-raises to bring cancer treatment and services to patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria via local hospitals.