Secondary (metastatic) breast cancer affects around 36,000 people in the UK. Secondary breast cancer is incurable but treatable, and some people are able to live with the disease for many years. However, the level of care and support they receive is often inadequate.
We’ve put together a bucket list of changes we want to see – changes that would make a big difference for people living with secondary breast cancer.
We’re asking people to tell us what’s on their bucket list to help us raise awareness of incurable secondary breast cancer and to help improve the support that people with the disease currently receive.
Emma's bucket list
Emma was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer four years ago. She shares her bucket list and explains the one thing she thinks the government could do to help people like her.
'A secondary breast cancer diagnosis is devastating and changes everything in your life. I was 38 when I received mine almost five years to the day since my primary diagnosis. My daughter was 7 and life was full and busy.
'So after going head long into radiotherapy and then chemotherapy I found myself five months later stable but trying to work out how to live my life for however long that would be. It's very difficult to move from feeling like you are waiting to die to living with the disease, hopefully long term!
The thing on the top of my bucket list is time, a precious commodity for someone with my diagnosis. What would be the things you would do with your children, the lessons you would give them if your time was limited? Where do you start?
'I want to show my daughter the world. She is almost 11 now and we have started to explore. Top of my list so far has been Cambodia, top of hers Singapore. We see amazing things and have fun together and I hope these memories will last a lifetime. I hope I have given her an understanding of other cultures and traditions and taught her to be brave and inquisitive. I want her to remember me living a full and rounded life and the adventures we have shared along the way.
'I consider myself lucky, I have wonderful friends and family who prop me up on the dark days and my disease has responded to the treatments I have been given and I remain stable after four years. But I worry about my future.
With each announcement about the Cancer Drugs Fund my options dwindle and I see treatments that could give me extra time disappear before me.
'There are no easy answers, I understand that, but it seems clear that the Cancer Drugs Fund is not a solution.
The time I need could rely on having access to these drugs, as does the time for so many other mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, partners and friends out there. Who can put a price on that?'
Email your Health Minister to urge them to improve care and support for people living with secondary breast cancer.
When Hannah’s mum was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer last year, it took a while for her family to adjust. She tells us how planning ahead helps her stay positive, and how hosting an Afternoon Tea gave her something to look forward to.