In June 2018, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, announced that the NHS will receive up to £20.5 billion a year in extra funding over the next five years. We now have a huge opportunity to ensure breast cancer services get the funding they desperately need.
Our new analysis shows we need to act now. If trends continue, the failure to tackle the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with the disease means the number of breast cancer deaths could rise within four years.
Around 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK.
Each of their stories - and those of their families and friends - represent at least 55,000 reasons why more money for breast cancer services is needed.
Thanks to you, we have already collected an incredible 787 reasons which we have shared with Health Secretary Matt Hancock who has the final say on where the money goes. Our amazing #55000Reasons campaigners went to his office in Westminster and shared their stories with him directly, asking him to invest in breast cancer services in the NHS Long Term Plan.
What reasons have other people shared?
a woman living with secondary breast cancer, said:
"Why is more investment in breast cancer so important to me? Because I am living with secondary breast cancer.
I need investment to ensure that I have access to the newest and best drugs and trials as quickly as possible as these drugs are keeping me alive."
who is also living with secondary breast cancer, shared:
"I’d like to see secondary breast nurses assigned to hospitals…a specific nurse would mean you’d have someone who would understand how you’re feeling, the highs and lows.
Sometimes it would be nice to not feel so alone."
wants everyone to be guaranteed excellent care:
"The NHS long term plan must prioritise and safeguard breast cancer services for all, particularly prevention, promoting early detection, NHS screening services, investing in even more efficient and cost-effective mammography. It must also strive to eradicate age and postcode and cultural inequalities."
Why does this matter?
We’re concerned that progress in breast cancer is stalling – breast screening attendance is at a record low in England, waiting times vary widely and access to best practice in breast cancer treatment and care still depend on where you live. This can’t continue. We need to take every opportunity to drive forward progress and improve NHS care for the increasing number of people living with and beyond breast cancer.
Prioritising breast cancer
Working together with people affected by breast cancer and healthcare professionals, we have identified 10 priorities that we’re calling on NHS decision-makers to address which will make the most difference to breast cancer patients.
1. Fund specific interventions
To prevent the 23% of breast cancer cases that are attributable to lifestyle factors in England every year.
2. Prevent over 1,200 breast cancer deaths
By increasing breast screening uptake from the current decade low of 71.1% to the 80% standard set for breast screening units.
3. Invest in the breast imaging and diagnostic workforce
Urgently invest £39 million in recruitment to the breast imaging and diagnostic workforce to enable breast services to cope with increasing demand over the next ten years.
4. Adopt new effective technologies in the screening programme
Adopt new technologies, such as tomosynthesis and Artificial Intelligence, into the breast screening and symptomatic services as soon as proven effective.
5. Personalise breast screening, once proven effective
Transform breast screening to risk stratified screening to spearhead the prevention and earlier diagnosis of breast cancer over the next ten years based on evidence as it emerges.
6. Ensure effective cancer treatments availability
Ensure that innovative, clinically effective cancer treatments are quickly available to NHS patients at a price that is fair and affordable, including by reviewing the NICE appraisal methodology.
7. Introduce a Catalyst Fund worth £3 million
To incentivise generic manufacturers to make it quicker and easier for patients to routinely access cheap, off-patent drugs found to be effective in new uses.
8. Fund new Clinical Nurse Specialist posts
To support secondary breast cancer patients in over 120 Hospital Trusts without a dedicated post.
9. Improve the Cancer Dashboard
By including more detailed data on performance across Cancer Alliance geographies to identify inequalities within and between Alliances.
10. Provide multi-year funding for Cancer Alliances
To increase confidence and encourage longterm thinking to drive investment in innovation, including a dedicated fund to address pathway variation.
Want to know more?
To find out more about our priorities for the NHS long-term plan, read our policy briefing (PDF).
Our amazing #55000Reasons campaigners went to Health Secretary Matt Hancock's office in Westminster and shared their stories with him directly, asking him to invest in breast cancer services in the NHS Long Term Plan: