A prospective research programme in Leicester to improve the lives of women who have undergone treatment for cervical cancer has received a cash injection.

John Boulger, Director of Crowndale Foods in Wigston organised a team of swimmers – including staff, family, friends and Leicester singer Jersey Budd – to raise £10,000 in an effort to get the research up and running.

The study will be a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Drs Hilary McDermott and Fehmidah Munir at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, Loughborough University. It intends to deliver a programme combining physical activity and peer support to women whose lives have been devastated by a cervical cancer diagnosis.

Dr Esther Moss, consultant gynaecological oncologist at Leicester’s Hospitals and Honorary Reader within the Department of Cancer Studies, University of Leicester, said: “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to John and his friends for their fundraising efforts and for the generous contributions from their sponsors and supporters. Through their generosity we hope our research will help women who have been impacted by a cervical cancer diagnosis return to their everyday lives.”

When asked about the research, Dr Moss explained: “Most women with a cervical cancer diagnosis are under the age of forty. The effects of treatment can have life-changing consequences, such as infertility, early menopause, incontinence and pelvic pain. These outcomes affect their ability to take part in physical activity, in addition to the psychological distress of having cancer and the anxiety of its possible recurrence.”

Dr Munir, a health psychologist from Loughborough University added: “As part of our project outline, we spoke at length with Leicestershire cervical cancer survivors and the consensus was that they wanted to take part in physical activity but were concerned about pain and incontinence and, consequently, struggled with their confidence levels. With the input from gynaecological doctors, psychologists and experts in physical activity, we hope to reduce their anxieties through removing barriers to exercise and help them regain a sense of normality in their lives.”

The study needs to raise a total of £40,000 and hopes to recruit women from across Leicestershire who have had a cervical cancer at any time in their past. More information about the study will become available early next year but if you or someone you know might be interested in finding out more please email gynaecologyresearch@uhl-tr.nhs.uk for more information.

To find out more about how John and his team came to raise the money and how they achieved it, please go to: http://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/our-news/press-release-centre/?entryid8=54325