The Royal Marsden

Marginal gains for less pain

A new trial to reduce pain after breast surgery is using the ‘marginal gains’ concept adopted by the Team Sky cycling team to win the Tour de France in 2012.

Dr John Williams (left) with Dr Matthew Brown, Pain Research Fellow, and a patient

A new trial to reduce pain after breast surgery is using the ‘marginal gains’ concept adopted by the Team Sky cycling team to win the Tour de France in 2012.

Following major surgery for breast cancer, a third of women experience chronic pain that lasts more than three months.

Dr John Williams, Consultant Anaesthetist and Head of Pain Services at The Royal Marsden, is recruiting 154 women on to a year-long trial to tackle this.

He said: “We’re investigating how we can improve each area related to pain management by a small margin, then use all those small gains to make an overall big improvement.”

Sir Dave Brailsford, former British cycling coach and general manager of Team Sky, applied the strategy which resulted in Sir Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.