Working with our supporters, our campaigning and influencing has had a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living with or affected by breast cancer.
Whether championing better access to drugs, keeping breast cancer at the top of the political agenda or working to improve breast cancer services, our campaigning makes a real difference.
Here are just a few of our recent campaign successes.
Making sure Kadcyla is available on the NHS
Bonnie (above) told her story as part of the Keep Kadcyla campaign
Keep Kadcyla campaign (England)
Following our successful campaign in November 2015 that prevented Kadcyla being removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), we campaigned again on this drug in December 2016. Due to changes to the CDF, the availability of this secondary breast cancer drug was once again threatened after it was provisionally rejected for use on the NHS by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
We immediately launched a campaign, calling on NICE and the drug’s manufacturer Roche to work together to keep Kadcyla available. In the space of only three weeks, an amazing 115,898 people signed our petition to Keep Kadcyla. This was presented to Roche and NICE by some of our incredible supporters who explained what the drug meant to them.
In June 2017, it was announced that an agreement had been reached on Kadcyla, keeping the life-extending drug available on the NHS to all women who might need it in the future.
Scottish Kadcyla campaigners - (left to right) Lesley, Lesley, Anne and Alison
Unlock Kadcyla campaign (Scotland)
The Unlock Kadcyla campaign has transformed treatment options for women with HER 2 positive incurable breast cancer in Scotland. The campaign made the revolutionary life-extending drug available to all who need it for the first time across Scotland’s NHS.
We launched a petition with four incredible women in February 2017 asking Kadcyla’s manufacturer, Roche, and the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) to reach a deal in order to make the drug available on the NHS in Scotland. The petition reached an incredible 13,196 signatures in just six days. In April 2017, the SMC announced that they had reached an agreement with Roche, and that Kadcyla would be routinely available on Scotland’s NHS for the first time.
Women with this kind of incurable secondary breast cancer will now have the chance of more good quality time to make memories with those they love.
Scotland: The 2050 Challenge
We challenged Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) to join with us to stop breast cancer deaths by 2050 and show their support for;
- Improving access to life extending medicines
- Continuing to catch breast cancer earlier by protecting the Detect Cancer Early Programme
- Offering better lifestyle advice and support to women when they attend breast screening
- Helping to make more breakthroughs by freeing up clinicians’ time to take part in research
Following thousands of emails sent by supporters to their MSPs, we secured cross party backing for the 2050 Challenge and in March 2016, the Scottish Government committed to “stop anyone dying from breast cancer by 2050” in their new cancer strategy.
The strategy, which sets out a vision for the prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and after care for people with cancer in Scotland, also reflected the key policy calls of the 2050 Challenge campaign.
Putting breast cancer on the political agenda
Welsh Assembly Election 2016
With breast cancer being the most common cancer in Wales and still taking around 600 lives every year, we wanted to make sure we had the support of senior decision-makers to stop women dying. That’s why in the run-up to the 2016 election in Wales, we asked our supporters to call on their local Assembly candidates to become Breast Cancer Now Ambassadors.
We had a great response and now have 25 Assembly Members committed to working with us – that’s nearly half of the Welsh Assembly! Since then our Ambassadors have been keeping breast cancer high on the political agenda in Wales, including raising issues on access to drugs in the Assembly and attending our annual wear it pink day. We will continue to work with them to ensure breast cancer issues remain a priority in the Welsh Assembly.
General Election 2015
With nearly 11,500 women dying from breast cancer every year in the UK, we wanted to make sure that tackling this disease was on the top of MPs’ agendas. So, ahead of the General Election in 2015, we asked supporters to contact their local parliamentary candidates and ask them whether they would become a Breast Cancer Ambassador if elected.
Over the course of the campaign, more than 21,000 emails were sent to candidates across the UK and following the election, nearly 200 MPs were elected who had agreed to become Breast Cancer Ambassadors. That’s nearly 200 MPs committed to championing breast cancer issues in Parliament and their constituency.
The Ambassadors have already made an impact. One, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, introduced a Bill to improve access to off-patent drugs. Others have been active in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer and more than 100 Ambassadors attended our annual wear it pink day in Westminster. We’ve also got Ambassadors taking part in the London Marathon this year and the MoonWalk London 2016 – a real sign of their dedication.
Keeping Kadcyla on the Cancer Drugs Fund
In September 2015, Kadcyla, the one-of-a-kind drug proven to extend life, was at threat from being removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund due to its cost to the NHS. This would have meant that no new patients could access the drug through the Fund.
In response we launched a petition calling on the drugs manufacturer, Roche, to reduce the price of the drug so it could remain on the Fund. A staggering 42,000 people signed the petition in just a few weeks. We handed in the petition to the UK General Manager at Roche, Richard Erwin, and supporters explained to him just how devastating the drugs removal from the Fund would be for them.
These successes have only happened because of the action taken by our supporters. If you would like to join them and be part of our next campaign success, sign up to receive our campaigner emails.