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New support in Buckinghamshire for people living with secondary breast cancer

Leading research and support charity, Breast Cancer Now, is launching a new service in Buckinghamshire for people with incurable secondary breast cancer.

The new ‘Living with Secondary Breast Cancer’ group will bring together people with the disease to talk, listen and learn with others who understand the challenges that secondary breast cancer brings, in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The free monthly group begins on Monday 18 March at 11:00am at The Wades Centre, Princes Risborough. The first session of the group will be an introductory drop in, and the group will then meet on the third Monday of every month.

It is estimated that over 61,000 people are living with secondary breast cancer (also called metastatic, advanced, or stage 4 cancer) in the UK. The disease occurs when breast cancer cells spread from the breast to other parts of the body, most commonly the bones, liver, lung or brain. While secondary breast cancer can be treated, it cannot currently be cured.

Breast Cancer Now’s monthly ‘Living with Secondary Breast Cancer’ sessions are facilitated by an experienced counsellor and every few months there is the chance to hear from an expert speaker on topics such as treatment side effects, fatigue and clinical trials.

Vicky Harman, services coordinator, secondary breast cancer, at Breast Cancer Now, said:

 “We are delighted to be launching such an invaluable support service in Princes Risborough to help us be there for people living with secondary breast cancer across Buckinghamshire.

“We know that secondary breast cancer is full of uncertainties and people often tell us they feel overlooked or forgotten once receiving the devastating diagnosis. Our Living with Secondary Breast Cancer group can help people feel less alone. The group offers a friendly space to share what’s on your mind with people who understand, as well as provide vital support and crucial information.

“If anyone has any questions or would like to register to join the group, please do get in touch with us at breastcancernow.org/Living-with-Buckinghamshire or call 0345 077 1893.”

Kate Harris-Haigh, cancer information and wellbeing lead at NHS Buckinghamshire Healthcare, said:

 “We support patients from diagnosis to life after treatment and, through our work, we meet many people at various stages of this process. We run a HOPE (Help Overcome Problems Effectively) course for cancer patients to help people move on after treatment has ended and we often have women on this course who have secondary breast cancer, and we always feel that they have a need for access to more support once this course has finished.

“The needs of those with secondary breast cancer are different among our patients. We are also often referred women with secondary breast cancer, and they will tell us they feel that they would very much benefit from being able to talk to others in a similar situation. The new Living with Secondary Breast Cancer group will be a perfect way for our patients to access another group run by a qualified counsellor, with sessions tailored to their needs. I know that without a doubt it will grow in popularity, and for us as health care professionals, it’s going to be invaluable to be able to offer these amazing women this fantastic new service.”

Kate How, 41, a teacher from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2020 and then with secondary breast cancer in May 2020 after a bone scan. She said:

“These support groups are really helpful. Even with the most amazingly supportive family around me, I have sometimes felt like no one truly understands what it’s like to live with cancer. It’s also helpful to hear about other people’s treatment plans and it gives me hope to hear about the many drugs and treatments available these days. I’ve been living with secondary breast cancer for nearly four years now and I’m lucky that I’m well. However, because I look well, people often do not ask how I am. While I do like it this way, it’s beneficial to me to be able to talk about my experience and this is easier with people who are going through the same thing.”

Register online at breastcancernow.org/Living-with-Buckinghamshire or call Breast Cancer Now on: 0345 077 1893.

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