Public Release: 

Pioneering Welsh surgery delivered to hospitals

Cardiff University

Women in Britain with breast cancer will soon benefit from a pioneering surgical technique developed by Professor Robert Mansel and his team at Cardiff University, Wales College of Medicine in the UK.

Professor Mansel of the University's Department of Surgery will tomorrow (Oct. 28) launch the 'New Start' training programme jointly devised with the Royal College of Surgeons. The programme rapidly aims to bring the benefits of the new procedure to women throughout England and Wales by ensuring all surgeons are trained in the technique to a high standard.

Professor Mansel said: "The latest results of the UK 'Almanac' trial - to be presented in the USA in December - show that our new procedure can accurately determine whether cancer has spread to lymph nodes, and reduces the side-effects of breast surgery in around 60% of women with breast cancer. The procedure gives much lower rates of arm swelling and numbness compared with current treatments." The new training programme is the result of research co-ordinated by Professor Mansel and his clinical colleagues which found that it is unnecessary in two-thirds of cases to remove all the lymph nodes from under the arm when it is suspected that breast cancer has spread. The old clearance procedure itself is painful and can result in loss of arm movement and arm swelling.

The new technique developed in Cardiff after three years of research across Wales and England means that the main gland - the sentinel node - can now be traced using a small dose of radioactivity to find out whether the cancer has spread. Women found not to have cancer spread, will no longer have to have such invasive surgery 'just in case' of cancer spread.


Notes to editors

1. The 'New Start' training programme has been jointly devised by The Royal College of Surgeons of England and the Department of Surgery at Cardiff University, and is supported by the Department of Health and the National Assembly for Wales.

2. Professor Mansel will launch the new training programme at a seminar at the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) on 28 October. He will explain the new procedure using videos, and describe the benefits of the new procedure. The patient perspective will also be presented. Fiona MacNeill, the Royal College's breast cancer campaign tutor, will then explain how the College plans to deliver the training programme in hospitals across England and Wales.

Journalists wishing to attend the seminar should call Sheila Thompson or Jo Rosentall on 44-207-591-9610.

3. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, the University today combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research with its proud heritage of service and achievement. The University's breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. From its outstanding central location amidst the parks, Portland-stone buildings and tree-lined excellence in all areas of activity. Cardiff is a member of the Russell Group of Britain's leading research universities. Having gained national and international standing, Cardiff University's vision is to be recognised as a world-class university and to achieve the associated benefits for its students, staff and all other stakeholders. Visit the University website at:

Cymraeg Contact:
Am ymholiadau trwy'r Gymraeg: Mary Leyshon, Ffôn: 0292-087-9074, E-bost:

Further information:

Professor Mansel
Wales College of Medicine
Cardiff University
Tel: 029-204-2749

Emma Darling,
Public Relations Office
Tel: 44-292-087-4499

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