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Walsall researchers leading the way

2024-03-05T15:46:42+00:00Tuesday 5 March 2024|

A grandmother has been recruited by Walsall researchers as the first participant in the UK to take part in a study to find out if compression therapy speeds up the healing of skin cancer wounds on the lower leg.

Corrine Kirby, 62, is taking part in the Secondary intention wound healing following excision of keratinocyte cancers on the lower leg (HEALS2) study whilst under the care of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and its Dermatology Team.

Dr Aaron Wernham, Consultant Dermatologist, is co-Chief Investigator along with Dr David Veitch, a Consultant Dermatologist in Shropshire. This is the first time Walsall Healthcare has had a Chief Investigator on a research study since COVID-19.

Skin cancers are usually split into two groups: melanomas are less common but more serious and keratinocyte skin cancers are more common but less serious.

Most need to be cut out. Keratinocyte skin cancers on the leg often can’t be closed with stitches and the wounds can be left open to heal by themselves (known as secondary intention wound healing).

Dr Wernham said: “HEALS2 will determine whether compression therapy – the use of tight bandages, stockings or socks applied to the lower leg to prevent swelling, keep dressings in place and protect the limb – reduce wound healing time.

“It is a randomised study which means those involved are put into two separate groups with some given compression therapy and others monitored with their open wounds.

“We signed up our first participant on Friday and she was the first in the UK to take part, so this was a real achievement for the whole team involved.

“We’re proud to have yet another national first here in Walsall and to be pioneering Dermatology research among our patients. We are aiming for at least one patient a month for the course of the two-year study.

“We thank patients like Corrine for their involvement because research is vitally important to us to find the answers to the questions that could significantly improve our patients’ care and experience.”

HEALS 2 will study 396 patients from 20 hospitals, who have had surgical removal of a keratinocyte skin cancer and have a wound which is allowed to heal by itself.

Patients will receive regular phone calls from the research team until their wound has healed. When that happens, patients will be invited to attend a clinic to confirm this. At this visit both patient and doctor will be asked to complete a questionnaire to assess the quality of the scar.

Corinne, who is a cook in a children’s nursery, added: “I have had eight to 10 operations for skin cancer over the years and have had a biopsy on my latest one.

“I agreed to take part in research because I see it as me paying back the care and support I’ve had.

“The team explained the study to me, and they helped me, so I want to help them. And if it helps others in the future as well that’s got to be a good thing.”

To find out more about the research studies and trials taking place in Walsall please email

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