BARNSLEY Hospital patients are taking part in the world's largest breast cancer trial.

Perioperative Endocrine Therapy - Individualising Care (POETIC) is testing whether post-menopausal women with breast cancer can be helped by receiving hormone therapy before and after surgery.

The trial, led by the Institute of Cancer Research Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit, has recruited nearly 4,500 patients across the country, making it the world's most successful breast cancer trial.

Forty patients at Barnsley Hospital have agreed to participate.

The first treatment for early breast cancer is usually surgery, but in this trial doctors want to find out if having hormone therapy for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery, as well as standard treatment, can help to reduce the risk of the breast cancer coming back.

Patients' tissue and blood samples will also be analysed to see if they can assist with improving the treatment of breast cancer patients in future.

The trial will see patients followed up for ten years, with final results expected in a couple of years.

Christine Smith, director of research and development at Barnsley Hospital, said: "We're delighted that so many patients in Barnsley are making such a positive contribution to this most worthwhile trial.

"It will benefit thousands of women in Barnsley and beyond, so I would like to thank all of those women who have agreed to participate."