Prevention is better than cure

16 February 2022

A local breast cancer prevention project is aiming to inform and empower women to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of developing the disease. 

Miss Jenny Rusby, consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon
Pictured: Miss Jenny Rusby, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon at The Royal Marsden

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK, but of the 5,000 cases diagnosed each month, it’s suggested that around 23 per cent are preventable.

The PIONEER study is recruiting more than 200 patients aged between 30 and 60 who have been discharged from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust’s symptomatic breast clinic, or women in the same age range who have been identified through the family history clinic. 

Participants are invited to set lifestyle goals and will complete tests and questionnaires at various points to understand what changes they can make to help reduce their risk.

Miss Jennifer Rusby, Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon and co-lead for the study, said: “This study could shape breast cancer risk reduction for future generations. Our aim is to understand what is most likely to help women adopt lifestyles that will give them the best chance of avoiding being one of the 23 per cent of preventable cases.

“Moving forward, we want to find ways of drastically reducing that percentage by sharing what we learn from the pilot study group and then applying that to a significantly larger national study group.”

The PIONEER study is funded by the NIHR BRC at The Royal Marsden and ICR and is one of several research projects in The Royal Marsden’s new Early Diagnosis and Detection Centre, which aims to speed up diagnosis and improve patient outcomes.

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