Patient Leader

Am a very grateful 3c womb-cancer survivor, campaigning to reduce the barriers to early diagnosis and compassionate, safe treatment of womb cancer. Took Macmillan CancerVOICES training. With Mitzi Blennerhassett published in Health Care Risk Report Sept 2006, "How the NHS could better protect the safety of radiotherapy patients". Shared with the NHS information about serious radiotherapy incidents that was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. This led to more widespread in-vivo monitoring of NHS radiotherapy patients. As a Macmillan CancerVOICE was able to amend the NHS GP Urgent Referral Guidelines so that women with persistent intermenstrual bleeding (and not just post-menopausal women) can now be considered for urgent referral for hysteroscopy/biopsy. Am agitating for GPs to concentrate on cancer symptoms rather than cancer stereotypes. Contributed as a Gynae Cancer Network User Rep to the DoH Womb Cancer Consensus statement. With the help of the Eve Appeal I sent womb cancer symptoms leaflets to every single English GP practice. Triggered and contributed to British Journal of Cancer, 7 June 2011 "Delays in treating endometrial cancer in the South West". With Debbie Vince, Debra Parry, Kaz Molloy and members of Womb Cancer Support UK am campaigning with Lyn Brown, MP for genuine patient choice of pain control for hysteroscopy. Am extremely concerned that gynaecologists and the DoH are seriously under-estimating the % patients who suffer extreme pain during outpatient hysteroscopy/biopsy. Am campaigning for patients to have a genuine choice of general anaesthetic, epidural or conscious sedation, rather than a money-saving, target-driven, one-size-fits-all attempt at hysteroscopy/biopsy with no anaesthesia. In the NHS, colonoscopy and gastroscopy patients are routinely offered safe, monitored conscious sedation. I believe the same option should be available for hysteroscopy patients. Extremely painful outpatient hysteroscopy can be a serious deterrent to early diagnosis of womb cancer as GPs are reluctant to refer frail patients to notorious clinics. To support the case for genuine choice of pain control I have surveyed every English NHS Trust that performs outpatient hysteroscopy. The results are in the public domain at www.whatdotheyknow.com under 'Outpatient Hysteroscopy'. Am a long-standing Consumer Reviewer for the Cochrane Collaborative Gynae Cancer Group - and strongly recommend other patients/consumers to contribute to relevant Cochrane review groups. In 2010 I set up www.wombcancervoice.co.uk as a resource for fellow campaigners. Am a founder member of a local gynae cancer support group in Bath.


Best Kept Secret Health Activist Hero

Katharine has been involved for over 10 years in trying to improve the outpatient hysteroscopy experience for women. I have recently joined her on this escapade and we have managed to enlist the help of my MP. Katharine is such a driving force behind the campaign.  — Debbie

Katharine has worked tirelessly for the last eleven years to raise awareness of womb cancer, to improve protocols for diagnosis and treatment, and to raise the profile of this cancer that claims the lives of 1900 women every year in the UK.  — Womb


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