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NHS Wales will participate in the first ever National Metastatic Breast Cancer Audit run by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), following Breast Cancer Now’s calls for an Audit for improved data collection.
This news, which comes during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, sees NHS Wales supporting the Audit that was first announced by NHS England in May 2021, and brings hope of a brighter future for those diagnosed with the incurable disease.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Audit should provide, for the first time, accurate figures around the number of people in England and Wales living with breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body – known as metastatic or secondary breast cancer.1
Crucially, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on breast cancer services, the data captured through the Audit will also provide essential insights into the experiences and needs of people living with secondary breast cancer to support the NHS to design and plan services to provide patients with tailored support.
The urgent requirement for the Audit was set out by Breast Cancer Now in its 2019 report which revealed the devastating reality of living with incurable breast cancer in the UK,2 including daily anxiety and uncertainty, with many people experiencing concerning delays in diagnosis, struggling to access vital support from a specialist nurse, and fearing they may not be able to access life-changing treatments.
The charity has tirelessly called on UK Governments to collect data on secondary breast cancer to improve diagnosis, treatment, and support, most recently calling for a national secondary breast cancer audit as part of their 2020 campaign.
Breast Cancer Now will seek to input into the development of the Audit. It is expected that the first insights from the Audit will be delivered in 2023 and that it will run for a minimum of three years.
Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“We’re delighted that NHS Wales is supporting the National Metastatic Breast Cancer Audit, demonstrating its commitment to improving the lives of people living with this devastating, incurable disease. I’m incredibly proud of how instrumental Breast Cancer Now and our campaigners have been in delivering these breakthroughs.
“We’ve repeatedly called on UK governments to gather vital data to enable us to understand the needs of people living with secondary breast cancer, who often share feeling overlooked and forgotten.
“While this data won’t be available immediately, it brings hope for patients in the future and we’ll now look to work with NHS England, NHS Wales, and HQIP as they develop the Audit to ensure it brings us fundamental insight from which to plan and resource services that give people with this devastating disease the best chance to live well for as long as possible.
“Now, Governments in Scotland and Northern Ireland must follow suit and implement similar audits so that no patients are left behind.”
Anyone interested in supporting Breast Cancer Now’s campaigning to ensure that everyone affected by breast cancer receives the best possible treatment, services, support and care, can find out more and sign up at: breastcancernow.org/get-involved/campaign-us
Breast Cancer Now’s free Living With Secondary Breast Cancer Online course is available 24/7 and offers those living with the incurable disease emotional wellbeing support and information and the chance to connect with others who share similar uncertainties and challenges. Find out more at: breastcancernow.org/online-services
For further information or to arrange an interview with a case study or a spokesperson, please contact Breast Cancer Now’s press office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07436 107 914.
Notes to Editors
1 Breast Cancer Now, Unsurvivors: Until things change, October 2019.
2 It is estimated that approximately 35,000 people are living with secondary breast cancer in the UK. Breast Cancer Now, Unsurvivors: Until things change, October 2019.
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