Heartlands Hospital’s advanced biomedical scientists, Julie Watson and Charanjit Sihota, are enabling faster treatment for breast cancer patients by helping to prepare breast wide local excision specimens (tissue removed during a lumpectomy).
These specimens have traditionally only been prepared and trimmed by consultant histopathologists, but Julie and Charanjit have received specialist training so they can assist in staging tumours more accurately and quickly. The results are discussed at the breast cancer multi-disciplinary team meeting where decisions are made on how treatment should proceed.
Their training programme commenced in December 2015 and involves educational sessions, one-to-one time observing and being supervised on a daily basis by Dr Neha Dalal, consultant histopathologist at Heartlands Hospital. Julie and Charanjit, part of the histopathology team, have continued with their daily laboratory duties while learning this new skill. Their training is nearly finished and they are due to commence independent work from next month.
Dr Dalal said: “Julie and Charanjit’s decision to further their education and develop their skills has meant that important pathology specimens can be processed more quickly for patients. Needless to say, their commitment, enthusiasm and determination is commendable. Ultimately, this training programme will speed up the specimen pathway and therefore help improve patient care.”