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Breast health 2019

Rising to the challenge of breast cancer, together


Baroness Delyth Morgan

Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now

One woman every 10 minutes is told she has breast cancer in the UK. We must act now to ensure that by 2050, everyone who develops the disease will live and live well.

11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to breast cancer each year.

Breast cancer is a devastating reality for one in eight women in the UK. More women than ever before are being diagnosed, and around 1,000 still die from the disease every month.

Our ambition is that by 2050, everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live and be supported to live well. But we need to act now ― from funding more world-class research, to ensuring more people get the support they need.

Prevention and breast awareness

One of the best lines of defence we have against breast cancer is to prevent the disease occurring in the first place. There is never one single cause of breast cancer, but rather it results from a combination of our genes, the surrounding environment and the way we live our lives.

So it’s crucial everyone is supported to take steps to keep their risk as low as possible, including drinking less alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active. Even small changes – like walking more or cutting down on processed foods – can be a great start.

Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK, so we need to ensure more women are breast aware and checking themselves regularly, as the earlier the disease is detected, the more successful treatment is likely to be. Getting to know your breasts and what’s normal for you means it’s easier to spot anything unusual, like a lump or change in skin texture, so you can get it checked out by your doctor. There’s no special way, it’s as simple as TLC: Touch, Look, Check.

Research and treatment for breast cancer

With around 11,500 women and 80 men still losing their lives to breast cancer each year, we urgently need to find ways to treat the disease more effectively at every stage. Thanks to pioneering research, new drugs called PARP inhibitors could soon offer a new option to patients with secondary breast cancer in the UK who carry BRCA gene mutations ― but we need to see even more progress.

Support for breast cancer beyond treatment

For the majority of women, the impact of breast cancer doesn’t stop when treatment ends. The ongoing physical or emotional effects can make adapting to life after treatment a huge challenge, and we must do more to ensure people can connect with support that meets their needs. Anyone can call our Helpline on 0808 800 6000 to speak to our nurses or discuss other support available, including our end-of-treatment Moving Forward courses.

By uniting to create the UK’s first comprehensive breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now can better serve a growing community of people living with the life-long impact of breast cancer, and make the research breakthroughs to help give women more time to live, and live well. We must rise to the challenge of breast cancer together and we must do it now.  

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