New Surgical Team Offer One Stop Operation for Breast Cancer Surgery

Women in Forth Valley with breast cancer are now able to have reconstruction at the same time as their cancer surgery. The one-stop operation is thanks to the skills of a husband and wife team, Ms Lucy Khan and Mr Chris Cartlidge, who both work at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The couple, both Consultant Oncoplastic Surgeons, believe that breast preservation is vitally important to recovery, body image and quality of life; their techniques can involve breast reconstruction through lipofilling and fat transfer, and nipple and skin-sparing mastectomy. And with one in seven women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, they see it as crucial to present women with the best options possible.

Mr Cartlidge explained: “Nowadays a whole breast can be removed through a small cut in the lower fold of the breast, which is hidden. This is very similar to the same type of incision for a breast enlargement. The most important thing is treating the cancer well but we also want women to feel confident about their body after treatment.”

His wife, Ms Khan added: “Treating breast cancer in my mind has to be done in a way where the patient can be happy and the surgery is done in the most aesthetic way possible. We must continue to present women with the best options possible and recognise that not one size fits all; each woman is very much an individual with treatment tailored to them specifically.”

The surgeons say they are seeing patients with breast cancer at a very early age; one they have treated was just 22 and they have seen others in their twenties and thirties. They believe advances in technology mean diseases and conditions are picked up much earlier. This allows early treatment but also means that patients can often expect to live longer, full and happy lives afterwards.

Both trained in the Edinburgh Breast Unit, one of the busiest breast units in Europe, under Prof Mike Dixon OBE, who is highly regarded across the world as a pioneer in the field of breast conservation, endocrine therapy and complex breast reconstruction. They are also Fellows of the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.