Preston Hospital cancer specialist receives special recognition for life changing work

An experienced oncologist at Royal Preston Hospital has been named as one of 14 new Honorary Clinical Chairs by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.

By Luke Power
Saturday, 14th August 2021, 12:30 pm

Professor Alison Birtle has been named among other clinical chairs for her work on more than 100 clinical studies and trials and her career spanning more than 25 years.

She has also been a part of Preston’s Rosemere Cancer Centre for 17 years in a bid to help develop new and improved treatments for those suffering from cancers.

Her current trial, POUT (a convenient abbreviation for ‘peri-operative chemotherapy versus surveillance in upper tract urothelial cancer’), started over a decade ago and has studied 261 patients around the UK.

Alison has worked in clinical cancer trials for 25 years

It aims to be the first trial to show the benefits of post-surgery chemotherapy for cancers of the upper urinary tract, with the findings now changing medical practice in the field.

Professor Birtle is also President of the Bay Prostate Cancer Support Group and works as a Trustee and Medical Advisor with Fight Bladder Cancer, a patient advocacy group.

This new achievement follows a first Honorary Clinical Professorship awarded by the University of Central Lancashire earlier this year, meaning she has the rare distinction of being not just a professor, but a double professor.

About her time in Preston, she said: “I have things here that I would never have had if I had stayed in London where I trained.

The experienced oncologist has been named as one of 14 new Honorary Clinical Chairs by the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre

“Back then, I never expected to come back to the North-West. You can make more of a difference if you’re in a smaller cancer centre. The team here at the Rosemere are amazing.

“And because I live in the Lancaster area and care for patients from there, I see lots of my patients when I’m out and about. That’s the big difference.

"When I do musical theatre shows at the Grand Theatre in Lancaster or sing with the St John’s Hospice Choir, a lot of my patients come and see me.

“You get integrated into each other’s lives; there are many patients who are family members of people I know. That’s sometimes difficult, as they then become more than patients, but it’s also a privilege to care for people from the local community.”

The MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs are awarded yearly by The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Promotions Committee. Professor Birtle becomes one of 63 MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chairs.

Professor Peter Clayton, MAHSC Clinical Director and Chief Academic Officer of Health Innovation Manchester, said: “Each new MAHSC Honorary Clinical Chair has made outstanding contributions within their field and exemplifies the exceptional research, education and patient care taking place across Greater Manchester."

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