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While driving her eldest son to rugby

training in October 2014, 52-year-old

mother of three, Odette Emmerson, was

sitting in her car wondering why she felt

so tired. She felt a nagging pain around

her right breast, and when she got home

she found a distinctive lump in the front

of her chest. Thinking this may be related

to other gynaecological issues she had

at the time, she went to visit her GP the

next morning, who arranged a fast-track

referral to her local NHS Trust. Ten days

later, it was confirmed at The Princess

Royal Hospital that she had Grade II

breast cancer.

Odette had had a mammogram at aged

50 which she’d been recalled for, but she

was eventually given the all-clear. As she

had private healthcare insurance, Odette

chose to see a private Consultant, Mr

Prakash Sinha, at the Sloane Hospital

in Beckenham. After undergoing a

lumpectomy, further investigations

confirmed that clear margins couldn’t be

obtained and Odette had cancerous cells

around the site of the original tumour.

She was referred to Dr Mark

Harries at London Bridge Hospital

for chemotherapy, and commenced

four sessions of aggressive FEC

treatment (fluorouracil, epirubicin and

cyclophosphamide).With 24-hour

medical care and the backup of the

oncology ward, Odette knew she was

in the best possible place should she

have any complications.

Focus on Oncology



Treatment Suite

at London Bridge Hospital –

Case study

Dr Harries recommended that Odette

have a mastectomy as soon as possible,

however, Odette wanted to wait until

she had completed treatment. Having

tried cold cap hair treatments, Odette

was unable to continue with these as

they made her feel sick. She visited a

company in Knightsbridge to purchase a

wig, and set herself small goals to work

towards, such as continuing to work

part-time and attending band concerts.

After finishing the FEC treatment,

Odette is currently undergoing twelve

cycles of Paclitaxel at London Bridge

Hospital. This will be followed by her

mastectomy and then four weeks

of radiotherapy treatment at Guy’s

Hospital. As part of her treatment at

London Bridge Hospital, Odette has

received complementary reflexology

treatments, advice from dietitians

and has found that the combined

care approach and communication

between her surgeon, Mr Sinha, and

her oncologist, Dr Harries, has made

her feel at ease during this difficult

time. Odette has found that her

experience of the Chemotherapy Day

Unit has been completely different to

what she had expected and says she

cannot fault the care she has had from

Consultants, nurses and all staff at the

hospital. She will have a mastectomy and

reconstruction in June 2015 when she

has finished her treatment.

Focus on Oncology

Dr Mark Harries

Consultant Medical Oncologist

Dr Mark Harries is a Consultant

Medical Oncologist at Guy’s & St

Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation

Trust. He specialises in the treatment

of breast cancer and melanoma. He

graduated from Cambridge University

and underwent clinical training at the

Royal London Hospital. He trained

in Medical Oncology at the Royal

Marsden Hospital and completed

a PhD and post-doctoral work in

the Department of Immunology at

University College, London.

His special interests include

immunotherapy for melanoma and

breast cancer as well as clinical trials of

new biological agents for these diseases.

Dr Harries is also the Research Lead

Clinician for skin cancer for the

Tumour Working Group of the South

East London Cancer Network. He

is a member of the National Cancer

Research Network melanoma clinical

studies group.

To find out more about our Cancer Treatment Suite, please contact Jane Loughnane on:

T:020 7234 2182