THE HEAD of St Helens Hospital’s Burney Breast Unit, Miss Leena Chagla says she feels "humbled" after being elected as President of the Association of Breast Surgery.

Consultant surgeon Miss Leena Chagla from Eccleston has been a consultant at the St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals since 1998 and she took up her two-year role as President of ABS in the AGM at Belfast earlier this month.

St Helens Star: Miss Leena Chagla Miss Leena Chagla (Image: Miss Leena Chagla)

Miss Chagla was born in Bombay, now known as Mumbai, as the younger of two siblings.

Her brother is a professor of neurosurgery in Mumbai and both of their parents were lawyers, with her dad passing away when she was 14.

She came to Liverpool as a P N Berry scholar to specialise in the treatment of Breast Cancer in 1991, got both parts of her FRCS by February 1992 and was appointed consultant in 1997.

She also continued to pursue her passion for sport in the UK and played for the Liverpool water polo team and they were National Champions in 1993/94. She also played for Northern Counties.

St Helens Star:

The mum-of-two spoke to the Star about how she feels following her appointment as President of ABS.

The 59-year-old said: “I am really honoured and humbled to be given this position. I am extremely proud of the work we have done at Burney Breast Unit.

“Ever since I trained at Whiston Hospital I wanted to return there, I had a choice of five North West positions and chose Whiston, I’m very proud of the trust and all we have achieved.

“I want to reassure my patients that my work will continue there, I am not leaving.

“When you are part of this community people know you and trust you, I go shopping and people in the queue know me and ask about their mammograms, I love what I do and that won’t change.

St Helens Star:

“However, I will now dedicate part of my time now to promoting, discussing and educating the best in patient care, research and treatments both nationally and internationally as part of my new role.

“My work led to two nominations from colleagues in Warwick and the Royal Marsden, which then went to a vote, it’s a great honour.”

Miss Chagla also wants to thank her family – husband of 31 years Dr Manoj Agarwal, daughter Natasha Agarwal (an opera singer) and son Ehren Agarwal (a medical student at Cambridge University) for their support and encouragement over the years, as well as her work colleagues and patients.

She added: “Part of what I love is hosting biennial patient events for the Burney Breast Unit allowing patients, their families, and staff to come together for an evening of fun, celebration, and solidarity.

“To my family I say I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without your love and support.”

In 2017 Leena set up the International Forum at ABS to help improve mortality rates from Breast cancer in Africa and other lower income countries.

She received the Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary Foundation of Rotary International via St Helens Rotary Club for her work in this field.

She is a popular speaker both nationally and internationally and has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals.