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claire lait cancer physio ukClare Lait is a Specialist Cancer Physiotherapist who qualified from Nottingham University in 2000 with a BsC Hons Physiotherapy. Clare has worked across a variety of settings including: the NHS, privately and for numerous sports teams including the GB junior rowers. She specialised within Musculoskeletal and Orthopaedic Physiotherapy up until 2009 when she was asked to take the lead in developing a service in Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust for women struggling with shoulder problems following breast cancer. This service was implemented and developed to include individuals who had been diagnosed with other cancers who were also struggling with returning to function. The service was able to develop to include an integrated physiotherapy and psychology programme with the help of Macmillan funding and was in due course shortlisted for a National Award.

During this time Clare took part in a Clinical Leadership programme where she worked with Cancer Research UK to develop guidelines around exercise for women following Breast Reconstruction using the Latissmus Dorsi flap and the Implant.

Clare also worked as an AHP project manager for London Cancer part time to ensure that rehabilitation was on the cancer pathways and was involved as the Physiotherapy representative for the Thames Valley Cancer Network Rehabilitation group and as the Rehabilitation Representative on the Living with and Beyond Board.

Following this Clare took a role as a Head and Neck Cancer Specialist at Oxford University NHS Trust where she worked collaboratively with the Consultants and the team on trying to find a simpler and more effective way to splint the radial flaps than using plaster of paris. This successfully led to the use a casting splint that was easier to apply, less timely and reduced the strain through the individuals shoulder. As part of her MSc in Clinical Leadership in Cancer, Palliative and End of life Care that Clare is currently undertaking at Southampton University, Clare chose to investigate the shoulder dysfunction in this population group and working alongside the nursing team improved the care for these individuals in a quest to reduce the longer term problems associated with the shoulder following a neck dissection.

Following on from this role Clare returned to outpatients in Gloucestershire where she currently works to try and improve the care for those living with and beyond a cancer diagnosis. Clare works on a 1:1 basis, provides education talks to various cancer groups, an advisory session at Maggie’s Cheltenham and input into the secondary cancer group and has recently set up a very successful exercise circuit alongside a personal trainer.

Clare then went onto work part time on a research trial at Warwick University called PROSPER (The Prevention of Shoulder Problems) following breast cancer surgery and radiotherapy. She is also an affiliate member of the Association of Breast Surgery.

Currently Clare continues with her private practice in Cheltenham providing physiotherapy for all cancer groups no matter what the prognosis.  She does this alongside her advisory clinic at Maggie's, Cheltenham and two exercise circuits funded by Heidi's Heroes.  She also works four days a week as a Macmillan Specialist Community Physiotherapist on the NHS. 

Clare is passionate about her role and the role of the physiotherapists and other Allied Health Professionals within this field. She believes that many people struggle with the after effects of cancer and its treatments and never receive the care that they need. Care is often reactive rather than proactive and focused more around the cancer than the individual themselves. Clare’s mission is for more people to access physiotherapy earlier following their diagnosis, not only to improve their general well-being both physically and emotionally, but also to empower them to take control of their lives where in most circumstances cancer dominates.