Leading charities, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign, today announced that they intend to merge to create the UK’s largest dedicated research charity committed to ending breast cancer.

Whilst more women survive breast cancer than ever before, the UK’s survival rate is one of the worst in Europe with 1,000 women dying each month. By 2030, we expect 60,000 women and men will be diagnosed each year, 185,000 lives will have been lost and 1.2 million will be living with the impact of the disease. Half a million women in the UK are living with the fear that their breast cancer might return and spread to other parts of their body as secondary breast cancer, which is neither preventable nor curable. 

A more comprehensive programme of breast cancer research

Both charities believe the merger will lead to more funds being invested in research, a more comprehensive programme of research overall into all areas of breast cancer prevention and treatment and will create a single voice for all those dedicated to ending breast cancer, helping ensure that the benefits of research reach patients quicker.

The new charity is expected to launch Spring 2015 with Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Chief Executive, Chris Askew, and Breast Cancer Campaign’s Chief Executive, Baroness Delyth Morgan, jointly managing the preparations for launch. The process of appointing a new Chief Executive will begin in the New Year. Both current Chairs, Isla Smith and Stephanie Monk CBE, will step down at the point of merger and today’s news marks the start of a search for a new Chair for the new charity, which will be undertaken by executive search firm, Perret Laver.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer raises around £17 million a year through flagship campaigns such as Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, TLC: Touch, Look, Check as well as its world class projects such as the Breakthrough Generations Study – the world’s largest and most comprehensive study into the causes of breast cancer. They also currently fund the work of more than 270 research scientists across the UK, with many based in the Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre in London. Breast Cancer Campaign raises around £12 million a year* through flagship campaigns such as wear it pink and the Pink Ribbon Ball. In 2013 it published the ambitious ‘Help us find the cures’ - a detailed action plan that outlined 66 key actions that must be taken to tackle the critical gaps in breast cancer research and currently funds 82 research projects across the UK and Ireland plus its ground breaking Tissue Bank. [*Projected for financial year ending June 2014. Income was £10.6m for financial year ending June 2013.]

The charities have been instrumental in developing new breast cancer treatments, targets and tools to prevent, detect and treat the disease. Along with their supporters they have successfully campaigned for key improvements in patient care, such as the 2 week wait for all breast cancer referrals; access to new drugs such as Herceptin, chemoprevention drugs for those at high risk and continued Government funding for research schemes such as the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF).

Inspirational and dedicated supporters

Isla Smith and Stephanie Monk CBE, Chairs of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer said:

“We could not have achieved all that we have for women affected by breast cancer without our inspirational and dedicated supporters. As a result of their support – the research they’ve helped fund and the advances they’ve made possible – we’re now able to take this compelling next step forward in our journey to beat breast cancer. Together we will put an end to breast cancer, once and for all.”

Chief Executives, Chris Askew and Baroness Delyth Morgan said:

“United, we will be a stronger, more effective force committed to putting an end to breast cancer. Everyone affected by breast cancer deserves to see an end to this devastating disease and by combining our energies and expertise we’ll make greater progress in more efficient ways and achieve our shared ambition that by 2050, no one will die from the disease.”

“However we do need to tackle a slow growing complacency around breast cancer – an unfounded belief that it is somehow a ‘done deal’ – and we need the brightest minds, biggest hearts and boldest influencers to join us now and help us challenge that. There’s never been a better time to join forces.”

Linda Nolan

Linda Nolan, who has been a long-term supporter of the vital breast cancer research both charities fund, said:

“As my family and I know all too well, a breast cancer diagnosis is completely heart-breaking. But thanks to life-saving research funded by both Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign, we have started to answer some of the biggest questions about the disease and have made significant progress in overcoming it.  

“I am really proud to be supporting Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign as they unite to form one organisation to save more lives through world-class research. I know that by coming together, and with the help of existing and new supporters, we can really make a difference to the lives of those effected by breast cancer, now and in the future.”

New Senior Management Team

A new Senior Management Team has been appointed to lead the new charity, once it is launched. Jen Dougan has been appointed as Director of Fundraising, Fiona Hazell, Director of Communications and Engagement, Elizabeth Robertson, Director of Research, Justin Parfitt, Director of Finance and IT, Catherine Devitt, Director of People, Organisation and Development and James Jopling, Director of Scotland.