As a mechanical engineer looking to develop methodologies to characterise spinal biomechanics and its perturbation due to metastatic bone disease (MBD), attending the OncoEng Patient Day was an eye-opening experience. This event provided an invaluable opportunity to directly interact with individuals grappling with the realities of MBD, offering me a perspective into their journey through the NHS and cleared misconceptions I previously had.
Throughout the event, I had the privilege of listening to patient testimonials that revealed the multifaceted impact of MBD on their lives. These narratives extended far beyond the physical aspects, delving into the emotional, and psychological dimensions of their experiences. I was taken aback by the challenges some patients encountered in receiving a metastatic bone disease (MBD) diagnosis, especially those who had previously undergone treatment for breast cancer. It was surprising to learn that despite approximately two-thirds of breast cancer patients eventually developing MBD, there are patients who still struggle to obtain a timely and accurate diagnoses.
In multiple cases, patients recounted instances where the primary cancer had remained elusive despite multiple visits to the NHS. The MBD prompted a deeper investigation that eventually led to the discovery of the underlying malignancy. These accounts served as a reminder of the complex diagnostic challenges posed by certain cancers and the critical importance of early detection and timely intervention.
As a newly enrolled researcher in the OncoEng project, I hold the aspiration that our endeavours will culminate in the creation and validation of a minimally invasive implant. This novel solution, designed for implementation prior to the emergence of vertebral fracture risks, seeks to not only offer peace of mind to these patients but also elevate their overall quality of life. Witnessing their hope for improved treatments affirmed that our research efforts hold the power to shape the lives of real people in profound ways.
In conclusion, the OncoEng Patient Day was a transformative experience that bridged the gap between us in the laboratory and the reality. These personal stories have invigorated my commitment to engineering solutions that not only advance our understanding of spinal biomechanics but also make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.
Blog post written by Han Chua