Dr Hugo De La Peña, one of the UK’s leading cancer consultants, has become the first clinical adviser to the UK-leading cancer support charity Maggie’s in Southampton.
Dr Hugo has been a cancer consultant for the NHS for over five years and has always been an active supporter of cancer charities throughout his life as a doctor. In 2022, he became an ambassador for Cancer Research UK, promoting the importance of clinical trials and tirelessly fundraising invaluable amounts of money directly and indirectly by helping in their TV advertisement campaigns. In April this year, he raised more than £5,000 by running the London Marathon and is running it again next year.
He has helped change the CRUK slogan from: “With your help, we will cure cancer” to “With your help, we now cure cancer routinely."
“I fight cancer every day and the more I raise money and awareness, the better off my patients will be. Therefore, to close 2023 off by becoming Maggie’s Clinical Lead in Southampton is a monumental honour and also a major responsibility.
“There are things I do because I am good, some others because I can, but this one is because I care and because Maggie’s approach to cancer is holistic and that is something our patients and their families need. Maggie’s is a wonderful organisation and I cannot wait to get stuck in,” Dr Hugo said.
Before becoming an NHS consultant, Dr Hugo was involved in cancer research himself and won the title “Young Scientist of the Year” twice (2004 and 2010) for his research portfolio in the development of cancer vaccines. His work was published in internationally renowned journals such as Science and JCI.
Since entering clinical practice, Dr Hugo has been the principal investigator for several clinical trials, which ultimately help change clinical practice, especially for breast cancer.
Maggie’s is an international charity that “provides free expert care and support in centres across the UK and online.” Expert staff at the 24 UK centres support people, as well as family and friends, to live well with cancer. This includes one-to-one sessions with cancer support specialists and appointments with psychologists and benefits advisors to help with any money worries.
Built on the grounds of NHS cancer hospitals, the centres are warm and welcoming. The first centre opened in Edinburgh in 1996 and the idea was pioneered by Maggie Keswick Jencks following her own experience around a lack of holistic support when she had breast cancer. Since its inception, the organisation has helped many thousands of people. In 2022 alone, Maggie’s teams had almost 300,000 visits to their centres.*
“It is such an honour to be invited to be part of the wonderful Maggie’s family and more so as a clinical adviser for the Southampton and Hampshire areas. While my day job is as an NHS cancer consultant, I take teaching very seriously and I am a keen speaker on the matter or curing, but also preventing cancer. The more I can do to help people the better. Maggie’s is such a phenomenal organisation and I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with them,” he said.
“I’m excited to see what I can do with Maggie’s to help support people with cancer and please remember that if you need help there are always people to help you.”
As clinical lead, Dr Hugo will help raise awareness of the importance of Maggie’s expert support among his fellow healthcare professionals as well as in the wider community.
Leading Maggie’s Southampton centre is Gilly Howard Jones:
“We are delighted Dr Hugo has agreed to be our clinical advisor. He will provide a crucial link with clinical teams and the hospital. He will also add credibility to what we offer at Maggie’s while promoting our work to patients and staff.
“I know he is passionate about supporting and promoting our fund-raising events. He has already given a presentation on the future of secondary breast cancer treatment which was well received by our visitors. I am really looking forward to working with him more closely.”
Dr Hugo takes up his volunteer role with immediate effect.
*visits refer to support facilitated by Maggie’s programme staff and include face-to-face, on the phone and online.
If you would like to get more information about Maggie’s, you can visit their website here: https://www.maggies.org/.
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