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Breast Cancer Care blog

Responding to the Progress Report on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer’s inquiry into older age and breast cancer, Diana Jupp, Director of Campaigns and Services at Breast Cancer Care, says:

“It is unacceptable that, in 2015, a breast cancer patient does not get the best care and treatment simply because of how old they are.

“Breast cancer risk increases with age and older women have poorer survival, so we absolutely must get this right.

“We want all healthcare professionals to base treatment decisions on a patient’s physical condition, not their age, and ensure they have the vital support they need.”

 -Ends-

For media enquiries contact:
Sophie Softley Pierce, Breast Cancer Care
020 7960 3505 (out of hours 07702 901 334)
Sophie.pierce@breastcancercare.org.uk

About Breast Cancer Care
Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist breast cancer support charity working throughout the UK. We were founded in 1973 by Betty Westgate, who was herself diagnosed with breast cancer. In the ensuing forty years we have supported millions of women and their families through our face-to-face, phone and online services. We also provide training, support and networking opportunities to specialist breast cancer nurses, and Breast Cancer Care publications are used by the majority of breast cancer units throughout the UK. We campaign for better support and care and promote the importance of early detection, involving people with breast cancer in all that we do. Visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

Post date: 26 March 2015

6193 Be magazine is our new publication to help people understand breast awareness: what it is, who should be breast aware and how.

It’s based on our very popular magazine Vita but while Vita is for people affected by breast cancer, Be is aimed at everyone who needs to be breast aware.

The pilot issue of Be is full of information on breast awareness and the signs and symptoms of breast cancer in the format of a women’s lifestyle magazine. It features interviews with people who’ve been diagnosed with a benign breast condition as well as those who’ve experienced breast cancer.

Feedback survey

As this first issue of Be is a test to see how well it works in helping us promote breast awareness, each copy includes a survey. We want to know what people think of it and if it helped them know more about breast health, breast cancer and Breast Cancer Care.

Like all our information, copies of Be magazine are available free of charge.

We hope it will be widely used, so whether you want a copy for yourself to help you be more informed on the signs or symptoms of breast cancer, or you’d like to distribute copies at your work place or community group, you’re welcome to place an order.

If the pilot is successful and the feedback from the survey looks good, we’ll look at making another issue later in the year. So once you’ve read a copy, please fill in the survey form and let us know what you think.

Order your copy now

Post date: 25 March 2015

Responding to Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care says:

 “Angelina Jolie’s experience has highlighted this incredibly important issue of family history and breast cancer. Since her preventative mastectomy nearly two years ago the number of GP referrals for genetic testing has doubled[1]. This means that many more women with a strong family history have been encouraged to find support and are taking action to ensure they are appropriately screened.

“Fewer than 10% of all breast cancers are caused by faulty breast cancer genes; the two most commonly linked to hereditary breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2.

“Discovering you have the faulty BRCA gene can be extremely distressing. It’s imperative that anyone who has inherited the gene is able to make an informed decision about risk-reducing surgery and other options available to them.”

-Ends- 

For further information, please contact:

Sheryl Plant, Press Manager, Breast Cancer Care

0207 960 3532 (out of hours 07702 901 334)

Sheryl.plant@breastcancercare.org.uk  

Notes to editors

  1. According to figures released on 19 September 2014, from a study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research 

    About Breast Cancer Care

    Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist breast cancer support charity working throughout the UK. We were founded in 1973 by Betty Westgate, who was herself diagnosed with breast cancer. In the ensuing forty years we have supported millions of women and their families through our face-to-face, phone and online services. We also provide training, support and networking opportunities to specialist breast cancer nurses, and Breast Cancer Care publications are used by the majority of breast cancer units throughout the UK. We campaign for better support and care and promote the importance of early detection, involving people with breast cancer in all that we do. Visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk or call our free helpline on 0808 800 6000.




 
Post date: 24 March 2015

Actress Angelina Jolie has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce her risk of developing cancer.

Writing in the new York Times today she says she had the surgery last week because she carries an altered gene, BRCA1, that gave her a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

This follows her decision two years ago to have both breasts removed (bilateral mastectomy) to lessen her risk of getting breast cancer, which was high because of the same altered gene.

Read our full statement to the press on this issue.

Family risk 

When people are diagnosed with breast cancer, they often wonder whether this means other people in their family will be at greater risk of developing the disease.

But most breast cancers don’t increase the lifetime risk for other family members and aren’t passed on through genes.

In a small number of families, such as Angelina Jolie's, several closely related people have breast or ovarian cancer diagnoses. This points to genetic factors, which means other family members have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Altered genes

If this is happening in your family, you can ask you local doctor (GP) for a referral to a family history clinic or cancer genetics centre to find out whether you have inherited an altered gene that can cause breast cancer.

About 5% of all breast cancers are caused by an altered gene. The most common of these are called BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Going through genetic testing and being given a diagnosis of an altered gene can be daunting. It means having to make serious decisions about risk-reducing treatments, as Angelina Jolie has done. And, because it is not common, you might feel isolated and find it hard to meet other people in a similar situation to share worries and experiences.

We can help

Our Someone Like Me service – where trained volunteers offer phone support for people affected by breast cancer – now has a new team of volunteers made up of people who have had a genetic diagnosis. Jo is one of the team. She said:

5673 ‘I was diagnosed with having the BRCA1 altered gene nine years ago at the age of 30.

‘My mother had breast cancer at age 43, and both her mum and sister died young from ovarian cancer.

‘My sister was given the all clear from the genetic testing, which left me feeling like it was a road that I would have to walk alone. I knew I needed to take preventive steps and opted for immediate surveillance.

‘After getting married and having my family, I decided I wanted to have a prophylactic double mastectomy and hysterectomy.

‘I was fortunate to be well supported by my genetics team, but through the years I’ve met other women in a similar position and realised not everyone had that support.

‘I feel passionate about being able to support other women through the Someone Like Me service, making sure no one feels they’re alone when faced with big decisions about their own futures.’

If you’d like to talk to Someone Like Me about dealing with family history, genetic testing and genetic diagnosis:

Find out more about Someone Like Me

Post date: 24 March 2015

Breast cancer in men is rare, with around 350 men diagnosed each year in the UK compared to nearly 55,000 women. 

6196

Many people don't know that men can have breast cancer because they don’t think of men as having breasts, but both men and women have breast tissue.

Much less is known about the experiences of men with breast cancer, and most information about breast cancer is aimed at women.

Because of the rarity and lack of information, a man might ignore the symptoms and postpone seeing his GP. But the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome is likely to be. So it's a good idea for men as well as women to be aware of any changes in their chest or surrounding area, and to see their GP with any concerns.

Information for men

Much of the information on our website is relevant to men with a breast cancer diagnosis, but some of it discusses issues that only affect women.

So we produce a free resource specifically for men, Men with breast cancer, with information about diagnosis, treatment and beyond. It also contains quotes from men who’ve had breast cancer.

Order Men with breast cancer now

We're here to help

As a man with breast cancer, although it's rare, you're not alone and there is support. Making contact with other men in a similar situation can help reassure you. Our Someone Like Me service can put you in phone or email contact with another man who's been through something similar and who's trained to offer support.

Or you can talk to other men on the online Forum. It can help you feel less isolated and you may find it easier to talk openly about how you feel, without needing to protect the feelings of others.

You can also read an interview with Doug Harper, pictured right, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, on our Vita Online blog. 

'Three days before my 50th birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in a state of shock, and I felt as though my world had fallen apart.' Doug Harper

Post date: 23 March 2015