The Scottish Government today became the first Government in the UK to commit to help stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050.

Wednesday 2 March 2016      Scotland
 First Minister commits to leading the way in stopping breast cancer deaths by 2050

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, met with campaigners from the UK’s leading breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Now today to discuss how the Scottish Government can play its part in helping to stop deaths from breast cancer by 2050.

The First Minister gave her backing to the charity’s 2050 Challenge campaign which calls on politicians to help stop women dying from the disease 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 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

The commitment makes Nicola Sturgeon the first Government leader in the UK to say that their administration will play their part in ending deaths from the disease by 2050.

Since launching the 2050 Challenge campaign just a few weeks ago, supporters sent over 3,000 emails to their MSPs and politicians from all parties have got behind the charity’s calls.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said:

“As First Minister, I share the bold ambition to stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to play our part in early detection, prevention and investment in research. We have made significant progress over the years in improving survival from the disease and we continue to take action to improve access to medicines.

“Too many people lose loved ones to this disease. Soon we will be publishing the Scottish Government’s cancer strategy and I can confirm that it will reflect our commitment to the 2050 ambition. Scotland can and will lead the way in stopping deaths from this terrible disease.”

Colin Leslie, a Breast Cancer Now campaigner who met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today, lost his fiancée Sharon Addison to breast cancer in 2014. Colin said:

"I’m so pleased that the First Minister has committed to help stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050.

“Her support means so much to me and my family - and the thousands of families in Scotland who are affected by breast cancer.

“Not a day goes by when I don’t think about Sharon. My life will never be the same without her. But, with the support of the Scottish Government, and so many MSPs, there is renewed hope that we’ll get to see the day when no one dies from breast cancer. That, one day, no one will have to go through the pain and grief of losing the women they love.”

Sylvia Wallace, a Breast Cancer Now campaigner who met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today, had breast reconstruction surgery just weeks ago. Sylvia said:

“I’m so grateful to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for taking the time today to listen to what the 2050 Challenge means to me.

“My life fell apart when I found out I had breast cancer. I’ll never forget the moment I had to tell my boys I had breast cancer and my youngest son turning to me and asking ‘are you going to die?’ No mother should have to go through that.

“I want to see the day when no mother will have to go through what I’ve been through. And – because of what’s happened today – I feel we’ve made great strides in stopping more women dying from breast cancer by 2050.”

Breast Cancer Now’s Director for Scotland, Mary Allison, said:

“Today’s commitment from the First Minister is bold and significant. It’s the first time a Government leader in the UK has committed to play their part in stopping breast cancer deaths by 2050.

“I’d also like to thank all of our amazing supporters who contacted their politicians and the MSPs from all parties who have got behind the campaign so far.

“The reality is that in the next ten years nearly 10,000 women in Scotland could die from breast cancer*; that’s 10,000 mothers, grandmothers, daughters or friends.

“However, today we have made significant steps towards our vision that – if we all act now – every woman who develop breast cancer by 2050 will live.”

Patricia Ferguson MSP helped secure the meeting with the First Minister. While raising Breast Cancer Now’s 2050 Challenge campaign at First Minister’s Questions she revealed her own diagnosis of a rare form of the disease in 2008. She said:

“This campaign is personal, not just for me, but thousands of families up and down Scotland. It goes beyond politics, that’s why so many MSPs from all parties have got behind this important campaign.

“Far too many people still lose their lives to this terrible disease. The shocking reality is that many more will lose their lives unless we act now.

“I welcome the First Minister’s commitment today to help stop deaths from this disease by 2050.”

*Estimated projection for the number of women dying from breast cancer in Scotland between 2015-2025 is 9,868. Calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, March 2015, based on data from Sasieni P, et al. Cancer mortality projections in the UK to 2030 (unpublished). Analyses undertaken and data supplied upon request; January 2016. Similar data can be found on the Cancer Research UK Cancer Statistics website.