So that we are sure our breast cancer and breast health information is reliable and up to date, we apply high standards when we research, write and produce it.

In this section you can read about:

1. The Patient Information Forum
2. Our Editorial Policy
3. Our quality standards for information

1. The Patient Information Forum

Our charity is a member of the Patient Information Forum (PIF). PIF is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides expert guidance on the development of high-quality health information. They have developed the PIF TICK as a quality mark for health information.

We follow the best practice guidelines developed by PIF and have a rigorous production process for our health and patient information. 

References and sources

If you’d like a list of the sources we used to research any of our health and patient information pages or publications, email


Website pages in our Information and Support section have a form where you can give anonymous feedback, entitled Let us know what you think. The comments are monitored and, as appropriate, considered when the information is reviewed. There is also a formal feedback system if you prefer.

2. Our Editorial Policy

Our aim is to provide high-quality, accessible information to anyone concerned about breast cancer or breast health.

Our patient information is written by our clinical specialists and reviewed by healthcare professionals and people affected by breast cancer.

We are grateful to the healthcare professionals and people affected by breast cancer who review our publications to ensure that they are accurate and easy to understand.

We update most of our patient information every two years, or sooner if there are changes to evidence, treatment or guidelines. 

We value your feedback, which helps us to improve our information. If you’ve got comments on any of our publications, please email us at 

3. Our quality standards for information

  • Information will be user-led and relevant to the user’s needs.
  • Information should contain the appropriate amount of detail. It should not be patronising or too basic.
  • All information will be clear, concise and in plain English. We aim to achieve an equivalent clarity in translation. We will use indicators such as Flesch Reading Ease to check readability. We generally aim for a reading age of 11–14 years.
  • All unfamiliar words, such as medical terms, will be explained in the main text.
  • Information will be balanced. That is, it will be based on the best available evidence. It will also be honest about any conflicts of interest and tell you about any uncertainties.
  • Information will follow good practice guidelines in the sector. For example, Patient Information Forum guidelines.
  • Clinical information will be checked and approved by our own specialist nurses and external experts.
  • Information will be checked and approved by members of the lay reader panel representing the user group for which it’s produced.
  • Information will signpost readers to other our services, as well as relevant external organisations and resources.
  • All information will conform to house style and brand guidelines.
  • Illustrations and photographs will reflect the user group and wider society, as appropriate.
  • Design and layout should reflect best practice in legibility and readability and follow good practice guidelines, for example RNIB See It Right.
  • CDs should be studio-quality recordings and DVDs professionally produced.
  • Information is available to all, and complies with our commitment to diversity.
  • Information will be reviewed, updated and amended regularly.
  • Side effects of treatment are categorised into ‘Common’, ‘Less common’ and ‘Rare’ where appropriate, to reflect the summaries of product characteristics (spc). This describes the properties of a drug and how it can be used, along with any side effects. We also use the views of our healthcare professional external reviewers to ensure these categories reflect their experience; and the views of our lay readers to ensure information about side effects is given in a clear way. This is so readers understand what to expect and what to do if they experience side effects. You can find out more about spcs on or from the electronic medicines compendium (emc)

For more information, contact us at

Our patient information 

Below are links to two charts showing some of our patient information and support services available at different stages of women’s lives, through breast awareness and, for some, primary or secondary breast cancer diagnoses, treatment and recovery.

Here for you: primary breast cancer (PDF)

Here for you: secondary breast cancer (PDF)


Last updated July 2020, next planned review 2021