A WIRRAL mum who was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer has praised a health trust for its record-breaking year of research.

Sarah Hayes is among 796 patients who have taken part in clinical trials at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in the last 12 months, more people than ever before in the trust's history.

The work has helped expand the centre's portfolio and improve clinical excellence.

Sarah, 35, from Noctorum, said she had no hesitation about taking part in a clinical trial as part of her treatment for secondary breast cancer.

She added: "Looking back to when I was diagnosed with secondary cancers I didn't know what the future held.

"Now I have celebrated my son's 16th birthday.

"I definitely credit the trial with that."

The mother of four was referred to Professor Carlo Palmieri, consultant oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and told about a clinical trial call Carbon.

The trial is examining the effectiveness of a drug combination for women with secondary or advanced breast cancer.

Sarah continued: "The treatment I'd had before that was good but clearly things were changing and I was deteriorating.

"I would say to anyone who is offered a clinical trial they should definitely give it a go.

"The treatment is so personalised and I feel very lucky to have been given this chance.

"Also, taking part in a trial is a way of helping other people.

"I have three daughters and although I know thanks to genetic testing that my cancer is not genetic, I feel that by taking part in a trial I am not only helping myself but other women, possibly my daughters, who might go on to have breast cancer."

A trust spokeswoman said "With one in two people in the region likely to develop cancer, this work is critical for the future care of patients at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre."

Dr Maria Maguire, acting director of research operations, said: "We want to make sure patients have access to research studies.

"It adds to our knowledge of cancer, whether that is about treatment or their experience.

"Every patient can play their part and we want to make our research portfolio more diverse while maintaining current strengths, looking at the bench to bedside approach and ultimately improving outcomes for our patient."

There is a massive diversity of clinical trials on offer to patients at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, covering a variety of aspects of patient care.

For example a study into the side effects of immunotherapy treatment is crucial to patient safety while the increase in the pool of biobank samples will enhance research into why certain people are more likely to get cancer.

A new research strategy was launched last year and Dr Maguire said the team have embraced the objectives.

The opening of the new cancer centre in Liverpool next year, in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, will also boost research and development significantly.

She added: "Next year we want to increase the number of patients on clinical trials to 10 per cent of new referrals.

"Research assures better drugs, treatment and outcomes for the patient and that drives everything we do.”

Professor Palmieri, consultant oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: "Clinical trials give options to patients and access to new treatments.

"They are also vital to developing new treatments and improving outcomes, helping patients live longer.

"Patients like Sarah who take part in trials are pioneers.

"They lead the way and we owe them a great debt of gratitude."