Wirral radiographer's pioneering research into rare condition

Wirral Globe: Beverley Atherton Beverley Atherton

A WIRRAL radiographer is nearing the end of the first stage of potentially life-changing research which could benefit bone cancer patients across the region.

Beverley Atherton, from Bebington, works for Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and has been looking in to ways of preventing patients with bone cancer from developing a condition called Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression.

Suffers can go from walking around and carrying out general day-to-day tasks, to potentially being paralysed if urgent treatment is not given.

The condition is rare but serious. Beverley said: "Around five to ten per cent of all bone cancer patients could develop this condition but if we can continue to spot the signs earlier, that's a huge number of people who will hopefully have a much better quality of life."

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre is increasing its focus on the importance of research and clinical trials and Beverley is one of a team employed to work closely with patients for research purposes.

After securing a scholarship in clinical research at the University of Manchester, as well as further funding from the College of Radiographers, Beverley has been leading the team of research specialists on this innovative project.

She continued: "I've seen first-hand the way in which this condition can affect patients and the consequences can be devastating for not just the patient, but also their extended family.

"I wanted to focus my research on trying to spot tell-tale signs during routine visits to the cancer centre for bone scans as the symptoms can be very minor meaning it’s not always possible for doctors to act until it’s too late.

"Myself and the team have been running the research project for three months to try and pin point when a patient starts displaying signs of Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression.

"We've done this through a detailed questionnaire which is presented to bone cancer patients at various stages within their treatment plan.

"It's been a fantastic process to go through and I'm confident that with the work we’ve done to date, we can at least help develop a stronger set of guidelines to understand more about the signs and symptoms of the condition to assess patients as they receive treatment."

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