Baroness Delyth Morgan
Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Now
While the pandemic has thrown us into unprecedented times, one thing remains the same – all women must get any potential symptoms of breast cancer checked.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unparalleled challenges for people affected by breast cancer and our National Health Service, including disruptions to diagnosis.
We estimated that almost 11,000 people in the UK could have been living with undiagnosed breast cancer at the end of 2020, due to the pandemic.
While most breast changes won’t be cancer, the sooner breast cancer is found the more successful treatment is likely to be.
Time for TLC
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month we are reminding people to get any potential symptoms of breast cancer checked by a GP. While most breast changes won’t be cancer, the sooner breast cancer is found the more successful treatment is likely to be.
Many women may know a lump can be a possible sign of breast cancer, but there are other symptoms too – including nipple discharge, dimpling or puckering of the skin of the breast, or swelling in the upper chest or armpit.
We’re urging everyone to make breast checking the ‘habit of a lifetime’, not just this October but always. It’s as easy as Touch; Look; Check.
We also encourage women to attend their breast screening appointments when invited.
Where to turn for support
Breast Cancer Now is here for anyone diagnosed with primary or incurable secondary breast cancer, to help them get the support they need during the pandemic and to live well with the physical and emotional impacts of the disease. Whether that’s speaking to someone who’s been there or to our expert nurses, we are always with you.
Looking to the future
It’s now crucial the Government invests in a fully funded long-term plan to tackle the growing cancer workforce crisis so women with breast cancer get a prompt diagnosis.
Equally, while most of the 340 researchers we fund have returned to their labs following closures due to the pandemic, the future of breast cancer research faces many challenges.
We’re doing all we can to minimise the impact of disruptions due to COVID-19 and thanks to our fantastic supporters we will be able to invest an extra one million pounds back into new research projects in 2022. It’s a great first step, but the pandemic’s impact on our fundraising income means it could take another two years to get back to where we were before COVID-19.