Dr Steve McSwiggan

Dr Steve McSwiggan, previously a Raynaud's nurse with PhD in systemic sclerosis, and now Head of Commercial Research Services, Tayside Medical Sciences Centre (TASC), University of Dundee talks to us about scleroderma. These are the questions we ask him:

  • Please could you tell us briefly about your role and at what point you get to liaise with patients with scleroderma?
  • At SRUK we're looking to raise awareness of Raynaud's and Scleroderma, and to help people identify symptoms if they're worried. Raynaud's is a common condition affecting approx 10 million people in the UK but we know that for some this can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as the auto-immune condition scleroderma. Could you explain to us what this link is?
  • So what are the symptoms of scleroderma that people should be looking out for?
  • Scleroderma can be a serious condition so what should people do if they're worried?
  • What are the causes of scleroderma and is there a cure?
  • SRUK are passionate about ensuring people getting earlier diagnosis, and gain access to the information and support they need.
  • In your opinion is it important to get an early diagnosis?
  • Our quick poll showed that 51.72% of patients did not receive a diagnosis until after 2 years. What issues do you think people are facing that are currently preventing them from getting an early diagnosis and what needs to change?
  • SRUK believe that the community should have a say in the direction of research that's why we asked the community about their research priorities. They identified 5 key priority areas-
    • New and safer treatments
    • Detection of progression, complications and response to treatment
    • Improved and earlier detection and diagnosis
    • Causes of scleroderma and Raynaud's phenomenon
    • Education of healthcare professionals
  • Do you think that there has been a change in how scleroderma is treated since the 1980's, and what is the future looking like?