This is an effective treatment for cancers that started in the skin or have spread to the skin. It is a way of getting chemotherapy into cancer cells using an electric pulse. Within the MDT, we are proud to work with Miss Salena Bains who will be offering this treatment.

Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a relatively new technique of combining the use electricity (electroporation) and combining it with low dose chemotherapy.

ECT is used as a local treatment for cancers that have spread to the skin. In breast cancer, it can be a very useful for ‘local’ control of disease that has spread to the skin. In the UK, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has approved the use of ECT to relieve symptoms for people with cancers affecting their skin.

The principle of treatment is that an electric probe sends a pulse of electricity to the tumour. This changes the outer wall of the tumour cell that allows the chemotherapy agent (cisplatin or bleomycin) to enter the cancer cell and destroy it. The chemotherapy agent is used at a lower dose than normal and can be injected into the bloodstream or into the tumour.

The procedure is undertaken under a general anaesthetic (under sedation is a possibility) usually as a day case procedure. It can take up to 60 minutes depending on how many lesions are being treated. The main side effect is pain after the procedure which can be controlled with painkillers. In addition, there may be some minor skin changes to the colour or breakdown of skin/ulcers.

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"Treat your patients as you would like your family members to be treated and you won’t go too far wrong."
Naren Basu
Lead Consultant Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon