History 

The history of Fight Breast Cancer Charity dates back more than 20 years when as a new consultant, Ms Shrotria set up the NHS Breast Unit at Ashford Hospital in 1996. At the time there was no dedicated service for breast cancer in the area. The unit began with just three members – a consultant, a secretary, and a breast nurse. The clinic has now evolved into a full-fledged department with three consultants, five breast care nurses, and administrative staff, as well as having good support from pathologists and radiologists. Two oncological centres – the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre and the St Luke’s Cancer Centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital – feed into the Ashford and St Peter’s Breast Unit. 
 
Fight Breast Cancer Charity was set up in 2012 after merging the Ashford Breast Unit Fund and Ashford & St Peter’s Breast Charity Fund. Over the past 20 years, the fund has received a large number of donations from patients, their families and friends. This generosity has helped the unit to obtain the best equipment, to conduct research, to promote education of health personnel, and to increase awareness of breast cancer in the local population. 
Fight Breast Cancer Charity aims to expand this work further into the community to allow all patients – locally or nationally and whether private or NHS, to have easy access to advice, financial help, and practical assistance. The charity will endeavour to provide for patients’ and their families’ urgent and immediate assistance, as this is sometimes lacking in other organisations. By supporting the Windsor Breast Clinic and Ashford & St Peter’s Breast Unit, Fight Breast Cancer Charity is committed to helping women to overcome breast cancer, to survive and lead fulfilling lives. 
 
Fight Breast Cancer Charity is funded solely through the generosity of donors. It welcomes any donations however small or large to raise funds needed to meet the challenge of providing patients with the best possible care, using the latest techniques and equipment, and to conduct research designed to improve the chances of finding a cure. 

Equipment 

Many instruments purchased, such as bipolar scissors, retractors, and lighted retractors have helped surgeons carry out complex operations. 
We also purchased four hand-held laser machines for the treatment of lymphoedema in the breast after radiotherapy. Breast lymphoedema is a painful and distressing condition as the breast is swollen and tender for several months after treatment. This novel application of the laser to reduce breast swelling has not been previously described. 
Fight Breast Cancer has used donations to purchase a Bio-Vision machine. This helps visualise cancer tissue straight away in theatre so that we can assess that it has been completely removed. If the edges of the tumour are closed then the surgeon can excise further tissue at the time. 
Our breast charity has bought Magseeds to use with a SentiMag Machine to localise lesions and remove cancers without the use of traditional painful wires. This technique is state of the art surgery and we are one of the few units able to offer patients this advanced surgery. This has now been fully adopted in the NHS. 
The breast charity has also purchased a 3D scanner to use in reconstructing the breast following mastectomy. It helps to improve the outcome of cancer surgery by providing vital pre-operative information. 
Chromosomal study: We have supported research being undertaken by Ms Shrotria in collaboration with Royal Holloway, University of London in an effort to identify new cancer genes. This is potentially significant in that new cancer genes can be manipulated to aid targeted treatment. 
Sentinel node biopsy: A previously completed project investigated the possibility of a single operation for evaluation of axillary lymph nodes which are sometimes involved in breast cancer. The audit allowed a recommendation to be made regarding the use of imprint cytology in theatre, to identify the presence of malignant cells in the lymph nodes. 
Magseed and Sienna Project: This was undertaken to introduce a new technique of identifying sentinel nodes and impalpable screen detected lesions. Fight Breast Cancer helped to part fund this and the project has been completed and successfully implemented in the NHS. 
RESEARCH, PAST AND PRESENT: 

Well-being Initiatives 

We have supported patients who have gone through gruelling chemotherapy by providing practical support to ease their day-to-day living. This has included counselling, household assistance and pampering days out. 
Fight Breast Cancer has helped in spreading breast awareness and practising self-examination. Ms Shrotria has taught techniques of self-examination using video demonstration, seminars and patient group meetings. 

Views and Opinions 

Ms Shrotria has always been a keen advocate for early breast screening. She has been an outspoken in her views of reducing the mammography screening age of all women. 
Fight Breast Cancer is also a keen proponent of improving and personalising care of older patients who have other co-morbidities and may not benefit from conventional treatments. 

Fund-raising: 

It is through the generosity of our donors that we are able to raise funds year-on-year to help achieve our goals. Our benefactors are usually patients, and their families and friends. Others who have donated include the police fund, corporations, banks, the Mayor’s office, professional organisations, and celebrities. Our largest donor has been the Lunch4Life Committee, which has raised funds through an annual ball. Other events have included the late Mayor Nappor’s lunch at Great Foster’s and Eva Law’s lunch at the De Vere Hotel. 
Our supporters are often inspirational people who have shown courage in the face of the challenge of breast cancer. In particular, Lunch4Life is driven by the experience of Mrs Lorna Ponti, who is actively campaigning for improved services and breast awareness. Since its inception in 2006, Lunch4Life has raised funds in support of the Fight Breast Cancer Charity, the Ashford & St. Peter’s Breast Unit, and a number of national cancer charities through an annual event and auction. 
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