Cancer patients given access to trials via innovative advocacy service

A first-of-its-kind nurse-led service that helps secondary breast cancer patients access clinical trials is celebrating having helped 500 patients.

The Patient Trials Advocate (PTA) service, run by the charity Make 2nds Count, connects patients with suitable clinical trials, potentially improving their outcomes and extending their lives.

“Access to the service has given me new hope and support”

Margaret Irvine

Its goal is to empower secondary breast cancer patients to discuss clinical trials as a viable part of their treatment pathway.

Specialist nurses working for the service provide phone consultations to patients with metastatic, advanced or stage 4 breast cancer, offering guidance on clinical trials, addressing queries and assisting them in searching for suitable trials.

There are currently an estimated 61,000 people in the UK living with secondary breast cancer.

Since its launch in 2021, the PTA service from Make 2nds Count has provided personalised support and information to over 500 patients.

Vivienne Wilson

Vivienne Wilson

Vivienne Wilson, a patient trials advocate and senior research nurse, helped develop the service. She said: “I’ve been working with Make 2nds Count for over two years now, and I think this service really is one of a kind.”

She added: “I enjoy the opportunity to talk to many secondary breast cancer patients, sharing my knowledge with regards to available trials and guiding them to explore their options.”

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One of the patients who has benefited is district nurse Margaret Irvine, who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer eight years ago.

Ms Irvine said: “Access to the service has given me new hope and support, as well as a new way of opening discussions with my treatment team and allowing myself and others, as patients, to have more control of the journey we are on.”

The PTA service is set to continue over the next 9-12 months thanks to a £79,434 grant from charity Walk the Walk, which organises the MoonWalk London and MoonWalk Scotland events to raise funds for breast cancer.

Margaret Irvine

Margaret Irvine

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