Almost 10,000 women in Scotland could die from breast cancer in the next ten years. Patients and families affected by breast cancer from across Scotland have joined Breast Cancer Now in calling for MSPs to help stop women dying from the disease by 2050.

Monday 1 February 2016      Scotland
Patients and families call for politicians to help stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050

They backed the charity’s 2050 Challenge campaign that is calling for MSPs and the Scottish Government to support:

  • 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 charity also released shocking figures revealing that almost 10,000 lives are predicted to be lost to breast cancer in Scotland over the next ten years.*

2050 challenge

Mary Allison, Director for Scotland at Breast Cancer Now, said:

“Our MSPs have the power to help save lives. At Breast Cancer Now, we believe that by 2050 we can stop deaths from breast cancer - but only if we all work together.

“With the Scottish Parliament elections coming up in just a few months, now is the time for politicians to take action and commit to joining the 2050 Challenge.

“The shocking 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. We need to act now to stop women dying from this disease.

“We need our MSPs to join our 2050 Challenge and use the powers they have to save lives.”

Access to life-extending medicines

Colin Leslie, who lives in Edinburgh, lost his fiancée to breast cancer the day before he was due to run a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research.

Colin said:

“I lost my fiancée Sharon to breast cancer last year. From the outset, we both knew there wasn’t a cure but we remained hopeful that we would find drugs that would give Sharon a decent quality of life so that we could treasure every last day we had left together.

“Sharon was my best friend. We were very much in love and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together.”

Colin added:

“I now run marathons for breast cancer research but I need MSPs to commit to running trials to find new breakthroughs in treatment. It’s too late for Sharon but there’s still hope that – if we all act now – no one will die from breast cancer by 2050.”

Sylvia Wallace, who lives in Perth and works as a Mental Health Nurse, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 42 years old. She had a mastectomy after doctors discovered she had a 9cm tumour.

Sylvia, who had breast reconstruction surgery just weeks ago, said:

“Before I was diagnosed, I was a happy, healthy mum, wife and nurse. That life was shattered when I found out I had breast cancer.

“The hardest part was telling my two sons. I’ll never forget my youngest son turning to me and asking ‘are you going to die?’ I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment. No mother should have to see their sons in that much shock and distress – all I wanted to do was protect my family but I couldn’t.

“I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones – I’m still alive and have a wonderful, supportive family. But breast cancer will always be a part of my life and my family’s life.

“I want to see the day when no mother will have to go through what I’ve been through. I want to see the day when no one will die from breast cancer. To do that, we all need to act now.”

Early detection

Kirsty Henderson, who lives in Glasgow, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her thirties while working at Breakthrough Breast Cancer (which merged with Breast Cancer Campaign in 2015 to become Breast Cancer Now). She found a lump one day while checking herself in the shower.

A YouGov survey carried out by Breast Cancer Now, in August, revealed that over half of Scottish women (57 per cent) don’t regularly check their breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer. For over half (54 per cent) of these women who don’t check regularly, the main reason was that they forgot.

Kirsty said:

“If it wasn’t for early detection, I might not be here today. I noticed a lump in the shower and, because of the job I was doing at the charity, I knew that I shouldn’t ignore it.

“The doctor told me I had breast cancer and I was in shock. My life fell apart; it’s the last thing you expect in your thirties.

“I’m still here today because I found that lump. I hate to imagine what would have happened if I didn’t check myself or decided that it was nothing to worry about.

“Early detection saved my life and that’s why I know how important it is for women to be breast aware. MSPs can and must make sure that early detection remains a priority.”

More information

Read more about the 2050 challenge in Scotland

Your MSPs have the power to help save lives. Email them and ask them to use it by supporting our 2050 Challenge campaign.

Email your MSP

* 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.