The experiences of people living with secondary breast cancer are unique, which is why our secondary breast cancer campaign has been calling for them to be acknowledged and understood.

It's also why we’re excited to have successfully worked with NHS England to make sure the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) can better capture the experiences of people living with the disease. 

A female health care provider speaks with two older women

What is the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES)?

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) monitors patients' experiences of different types of cancers, including breast cancer. It's carried out every year on behalf of NHS England and gives people an important chance to provide feedback and rate aspects of their care, from treatment to nursing.

The survey gives invaluable information to the NHS about the areas of care that need to be improved. It's also vital in developing our work and helps us identify where we need to focus our policy and campaigning efforts. 

Why did the CPES need to change?

We know the experiences of people living with secondary breast cancer are not well understood.

This, along with a lack of data around secondary breast cancer in England, makes it extremely difficult for healthcare providers to plan, carry out and improve treatment, care and support for people living with this disease.

This is why we’ve been campaigning for better data collection as part of our secondary breast cancer campaign.

Our work to change the CPES

Before 2021, the CPES did not identify whether someone had secondary breast cancer. We’ve worked with NHS England to make sure the next survey will:

  • Be clear if someone answering the survey has secondary breast cancer, allowing us to understand much more about the care and support they receive, including support from a clinical nurse specialist
  • Ask whether someone was made aware of the signs and symptoms of recurrence when finishing their treatment – giving us insight into how we can better support people to get an early diagnosis

Alongside our other recent campaign success – securing a secondary breast cancer audit in England (a huge project that will report in 2023) – the information gained from the CPES will help us improve our understanding of secondary breast cancer.

The new version of the CPES will be sent to patients in November and December 2021 with results expected to be published in Spring 2022.

We're excited NHS England has worked with us to better capture the unique experiences of secondary breast cancer patients. It's a crucial step to ensuring everyone living with the disease gets the best care and treatment possible.


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