Medical experts from across the world descended on Shropshire’s two acute hospitals this week as part of their mission to eradicate cervical cancer globally.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and the Princes Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford, is recognised as one of the UK leaders in the field and for three days this week healthcare professionals from the organisation shared their expertise with doctors from the other side of the globe.
Dr Rachel Masch, from New York, and Dr Karla Alfaro, from El Salvador, are leading members of Basic Health International, an organisation whose vision is a world where no women die of cervical cancer. They visited Dr Jane Panikkar, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, and her team at PRH.
Dr Panikkar said: “It is fantastic to welcome such esteemed colleagues to our Trust. I am so proud of the medical, nursing and administrative staff in the SaTH colposcopy service.
“At SaTH we are passionate about cervical screening, treatment and prevention of cervix cancer. Our colposcopy unit is one of the leading units in the UK in thermoablation techniques to pre-cancer cells of the ervix. Many women from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Mid Wales have benefited from this technique. The unit has many peer reviewed publications and presentations locally, nationally and internationally.”
Dr Alfaro said: “SaTH are the experts in this field and we want to learn from the very best. I travelled across the world, via four airports, to be in Shropshire for just three days as the doctors here are that good.
“Cervical cancer is a really big public health problem in low and middle income countries so our challenge is to take our learning from SaTH and work out ways the equipment can be adapted to make to make it more portable and less expensive.”
SaTH’s Dr Panikkar and Dr Parry Smith are also members of PHASE Worldwide Colposcopy Group, a cervical cancer screening partnership with the Nepal Network for Cancer Treatment and Research. Despite being preventable by screening, cervical cancer is the most frequent occurring type of cancer among women in Nepal.
Dr Panikkar said: “Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and cervical cancer in the leading cause of cancer deaths. Approximately 2,332 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Nepal every year and 1,367 die from the disease.
“By having the likes of Rachel and Karla at SaTH - several doctors and nurses from Nepal have also visited SaTH for training - we are able to share our skills and expertise with them while also tapping into their significant knowledge. This in turn can only be a fantastic thing for the people of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Mid Wales.”