Blog posts

What’s it like to… be a cancer surgeon?

By Mr Daniel Leff, Consultant in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Reader in Breast Surgery at Imperial College London

I became curious about surgery as a speciality in my final year of medical school training at Imperial. In my early post-graduate years, I finally decided upon a career in surgery when I witnessed the direct impact it had on improving patient outcomes. I relished the technical challenge of balancing the cancer surgery on one hand, with the need for high-quality aesthetic outcomes on the other.

Celebrating IGHI’s women

IGHI is fortunate to have so many inspiring women who play an important part in shaping our work. Not only have they influenced our legacy since the launch of the Institute in 2010, they’re also leading the way forward in delivering our latest innovative research.

For Women at Imperial Week, and with International Women’s Day around the corner, we’re highlighting 10 women in different roles across IGHI. We spoke to them to find out a bit more about what motivates them, and the future they’d like to see for women in the workplace.

How birdsong is helping raise awareness of hearing health

Nobody should have their quality of life limited by hearing loss. But if your hearing started to deteriorate, would you know?

Hearing loss can remain undetected and untreated for a long time. But if identified early and treated effectively, those with hearing loss can continue to communicate with the world around them and have meaningful experiences in all aspects of their life. This is one of the major messages that this year’s World Hearing Day is focused on, under the theme “hearing for life”.

Empowering stroke survivors in their own recovery

It was Christmas time three years ago when Amy experienced a stroke. Amy was enjoying her retirement, having spent her career working in publishing. But the stroke took away her independence, paralysing her left arm such that she needed full-time care. This isn’t an uncommon outcome: some 80% of people experience difficulty using their arms after a stroke.

Amy spent the next four months in hospital, the beginning of a long road to recovery.

“The rehabilitation I received in hospital mainly focused on walking, but it was my hand that I really needed help with,” she says.

“And I wasn’t told that if I didn’t use my hand that I would lose function of it.”

Waking up to sleep in secure mental health services

On a basic level, all humans really need to survive is air, water, food and sleep. We need to sleep every night to give our body important R&R, among many other things. And research has shown how getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for our mental health and wellbeing.

When we sleep well, we’re more likely to have greater concentration, be in a better mood and get things done. In contrast, when we don’t, we can really see and feel the opposite effect. While we all have a poor night’s sleep from time to time, we know that people in prison and forensic mental health hospitals in the UK struggle more than most.

IGHI people: Meet Marianne Knight, Director of Operations, Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery

IGHI is home to a team of staff who are skilled and passionate about their roles. Our talented people are the reason we’re able to tackle some of the most pressing global health challenges through cutting-edge innovation.

To mark our 10th anniversary this year, we’re giving you the chance to get to know some of them a little better and learn about what motivates them in their roles, who inspires them and what they like to get up to outside of IGHI.

Meet Marianne Knight, the Director of Operations for our Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery. Learn more about her role in helping run the day-to-day activities of the Centre.

It’s time to talk about mental health

It’s estimated that one in four adults will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Despite this, there remains a stigma attached to opening up and speaking about our mental wellbeing.

Today, we’re marking Time to Talk Day, encouraging us all to have a conversation about how we’re feeling. We asked four experts at IGHI about their experiences, insights and advice on speaking up about mental health.

5 ways our researchers are working to better spot and treat cancer

Cancer survival is improving and today, half of people diagnosed will survive their disease. This is thanks to research. Research that’s guiding governments to change their policies, underpinning awareness campaigns and educational initiatives, turning discoveries into treatments and prevention measures.

But there’s still much to be done to help more people survive, by catching the disease earlier and developing better treatments.

This World Cancer Day, and as part of our celebrations to mark IGHI’s 10th anniversary this year, find out how our researchers are working to make that happen. Join us in exploring some of our projects that could lead to better detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

How we’re using data to improve healthcare

‘Big Data’ has become a bit of a buzzword. But for us at the Big Data and Analytical Unit, it’s our bread and butter.

The Big Data and Analytical Unit (BDAU) is the health data hub in IGHI’s Centre for Health Policy. We’re a multidisciplinary team that collaborates with clinicians, academics and data scientists across the College (and beyond!) to support improvements in health through better use of data. But what exactly does that mean?

Here’s a typical day for the BDAU to show you what that looks like in practice.

Feedback First – making patient complaints easier to digest

People complain for a variety of reasons. But international evidence consistently finds that most people complain to prevent incidents from happening to others – they want to see change as a result, when they feel something isn’t right. Making a complaint can therefore be an empowering process, if people know – or feel – that their actions could make a difference.

Dealing with complaints is an important learning process for those that the complaint is directed against, but also the institution more widely. They can highlight problems that may have otherwise slipped through the net, prompting action that can prevent the same mistakes happening again and affecting more people.