A round-up of the latest news about breast cancer research, treatments and side effects.
1. New research exposes inadequate care for breast cancer patients at end of treatment
Our landmark survey as part of our Care After Breast Cancer campaign revealed that two fifths of almost 3,000 women with primary breast cancer did not receive the professional support they needed to cope with the long-term effects of the disease.
Our Chief Executive, Samia al Qadhi said;
'After being blindsided by the life-changing, long-term emotional and physical effects of the disease, far too many women are left to pick up the pieces by themselves, without the healthcare support they so desperately need.'
2. Eight in 10 with breast cancer not told about possible impact on mental health
Eight in 10 women with breast cancer in England are not told about the possibility of developing long-term anxiety and depression by healthcare professionals.
Our survey, undergone in partnership with Mind, revealed that a third experience anxiety for the first time in their lives after their diagnosis and treatment.
3. Nurse shortage leaves incurable breast cancer patients abandoned
Thousands of incurable breast cancer patients are denied nursing care three years after UK government cancer strategies promised to deliver access to a designated nurse for all cancer patients.
Almost three quarters of NHS Trusts and Health Boards across England, Scotland and Wales do not provide a dedicated nurse for people living with incurable breast cancer, as revealed by Freedom of Information data by Breast Cancer Care.
Cancer Patient Experience Surveys across the UK identify hat people with a clinical nurse specialist are more likely to be told about side effects and given the opportunity to discuss their needs and concerns.
4. Breast screening errors in Scotland revealed
A review of the Scottish Breast Screening Programme found almost 1,700 women aged over 71 have been waiting up to three years for their final appointment, due to a computer glitch.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman apologised to all those affected and accepted it would be a 'worrying time' for the women involved.
5. Two-week target for breast cancer waiting times missed four months in a row
The two-week target for those who’ve found a possible breast symptom to see a specialist was missed in England for four months in a row.
Our Head of Evidence, Policy and Campaigns, said; 'It’s totally unacceptable that this is the fourth consecutive month the two-week target for those who’ve found a possible breast symptom has been missed - we constantly hear from women that each day fearfully waiting to find out if they have cancer feels like an eternity.'
6. Impact on fertility during breast cancer included in updated NICE guidance
NICE’s updated guidance for early and locally advanced breast cancer references the impact that breast cancer treatment can have on fertility. This means that healthcare professionals will now have guidance on discussing fertility options with their patients.
7. Hundreds of women with breast cancer are being denied or rushed into surgery
Freedom of Information disclosures revealed that almost one in four NHS authorities have introduced restrictive policies on breast reconstruction, meaning women could be denied or rushed into surgeries.
Our Chief Executive said; 'With more and more people living longer after breast cancer, accurate information about reconstruction is vital to put women in the driving seat to make the right decision for them and they must be guaranteed access to a reconstruction they choose, when they choose it.'
8. Immunotherapy and chemotherapy could extend survival of incurable breast cancer
Research presented at European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress shows that using a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy, the body's own immune system could extend the lives of patients with incurable triple negative breast cancer.
Our Clinical Nurse Specialist said in response; 'Women with this life-changing and life-limiting diagnosis bear the brunt of limited treatment options. So it is exciting a brighter future could be made possible by combining treatments to possibly give them precious extra time with loved ones.'
9. Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now announce merger
We're excited to announce Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now are uniting to create one charity for everyone affected by breast cancer. From April 2019, we'll be the UK's first comprehensive breast cancer charity.