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Last year, we launched a campaign demanding change for people affected by secondary breast cancer.
We're calling on governments across the UK to take action. Asking them to improve the treatment, support and care received by those living with the disease. We’re also calling on Health Ministers across the UK to meet with people living with secondary breast cancer to discuss the issues facing them.
In this blog, we'll look at some of the results of the campaign so far. We'll also tell you about everything the team here at Breast Cancer Now have been doing behind the scenes. Working to make sure everyone with secondary breast cancer can live well for as long as possible.
Over 60,000 people have backed the campaign by signing our petition. Thanks to this incredible support, we have already held meetings with Health Ministers in Scotland and England.
In December, we met the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, accompanied by members of our fantastic Secondary Breast Cancer Campaign Group, Jane and Alison.
In January, alongside Group members Miranda and Mary, we sat down with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in England.
At both meetings, we got the opportunity to discuss the importance of data collection, access to Clinical Nurse Specialists, access to treatment and clinical trials and delays in diagnosis.
Following these productive meetings, we’re working hard to secure meetings with Health Ministers in Wales and Northern Ireland.
We’ve been working to make sure the needs of people living with secondary breast cancer are at the heart of NHS plans across the UK. The huge backing the campaign has received has led to us:
It’s crucial that people with secondary breast cancer are diagnosed promptly so that they can begin treatment and access supportive care as quickly as possible. However, we know that many are experiencing avoidable delays in diagnosis. That’s why we’ve been:
We know that secondary breast cancer patients who see a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) regularly receive much better support. However, far too many don’t get to see them often enough, or even at all. To help address this issue we have:
Having quick access to clinically-effective treatments is crucial for secondary breast cancer patients as it can significantly extend the time before someone’s disease progresses, in some cases extend lives, as well as improving people’s quality of life. But delays in accessing these treatments can mean patients miss out. We’re pushing for changes in this area by:
In the meantime, we’ve been responding to a number of ongoing drug appraisals,working with patients to ensure their views are heard by decision makers. This has included:
We’re continuing to push for data to be collected on the number of people diagnosed with secondary breast cancer across the UK. This information is vital to ensuring that commissioners and healthcare providers have the information they need to effectively plan their services for people living with the disease.
In England, we are expecting the latest data from the Cancer Outcomes and Services Dataset (COSD), the national cancer dataset in England, to be published in April. The latest version of the dataset includes improved ways to record secondary breast cancer diagnoses so we hope to see this leading to more complete data being recorded.
We’ll continue to push for data collection in our meetings with policy makers across the UK – we have already raised it with both Matt Hancock and Jeane Freeman – and if the data published in April is still incomplete we will prioritise campaigning work on data collection in the coming year
Improving treatment and care for people living with secondary breast cancer is a priority for Breast Cancer Now. We’ll continue to campaign for change across the UK.
We’ll be handing in our petition to Cancer Minister, Jo Churchill on 3rd March. Add your voice by joining the campaign.