Basingstoke cancer patients to take part in pioneering blood clotting trials

Basingstoke liver surgeons are leading the way with ground-breaking research which is set to benefit more cancer patients in the future.

Around 60 bowel cancer patients with secondary liver cancer are expected to take part in the study. The Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust (HHFT) recently got the go-ahead to investigate the reasons that might increase the likelihood of patients developing blood clots after liver surgery and ways to reduce or avoid them.

Pelican Cancer Foundation is supporting this year-long project which aims to reveal more about the causes of blood clotting following liver resection surgery.

A grant of £20,000 and office space for the research team from the charity, which supports clinical research into ‘below the belt’ cancers, will help fund the Coagulation in Liver Surgery (COALS) study at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.

The Basingstoke liver surgical team, which includes Merv Rees, Tim John, Fenella Welsh and Ben Cresswell, are dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients after treatment and the surgery undertaken. The team are constantly trying to help their patients and their motto is ‘you are only as good as your next operation.’

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the second greatest cause of cancer death.

More than 41,000 people are diagnosed each year, with around half of them presenting with, or developing, secondary liver cancer at some stage. Up to 50 per cent of these patients may be suitable for liver surgery, which can increase their chances of surviving their cancer.

Although liver surgery has been historically associated with high blood loss, improvements in surgery and anaesthetics have resulted in a significant improvement so that the amount of blood lost has greatly reduced.

What has become clear is that patients are more at risk from problems with blood clots after surgery than bleeding.

Basingstoke is one of only 27 centres in the UK treating secondary liver cancer. The unit has done over 3,000 surgical removals of liver metastases and 99% of its patients have survived their surgery – this is an exceptional result.

Consultant surgeon Miss Welsh said: “Receiving the go-ahead for the COALS study is a significant step forward for the Liver Unit in Basingstoke and we are very grateful for the support of the Pelican Cancer Foundation.

“The project will push the boundaries of liver surgery at Basingstoke, with the potential of providing safer treatment and reducing the risks for our patients.”

Pelican chief executive Sarah Crane said: “This charity is pleased to support the Coagulation in Liver Surgery (COALS) study at Basingstoke and we look forward to seeing the research results, which will benefit many bowel cancer patients in the future.”