PUBLISHED ON: 8 February 2017

If you’ve been keeping up with our 'Secondary. Not Second rate.' campaign, you’ll be aware of some of the gaps we've identified in the care of people with secondary breast cancer.

There are too few nurses with the skills and time to support people living with this diagnosis and the huge variation in people’s experience and treatment can make it easy for some to slip through the gaps.

Lonely hospital corridor

Often hospital staff are aware of the problems and keen to make things better for their patients. But with limited resources it can be hard to make the case for change or to know what to do that will have the greatest impact. This is where we can help.  

Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge

Breast Cancer Care, in partnership with charity Breast Cancer Now, is once again working with individual hospitals across England and Wales to help them to identify and implement service improvements.

Now in its fifth year, the project uses surveys and focus groups to build a picture of what’s working well and where patients feel things could be better. Then, by bringing patients and staff together, we support the hospital to identify service improvements that will work locally.

The planned changes are published as the hospital’s Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge.

To date we’ve worked with 26 hospitals and the changes they have implemented include:

  • using survey data and so on to make a successful case for a dedicated secondary clinical nurse specialist
  • introducing a nurse into the oncology clinic to support patients
  • changing practice so that patients aren’t automatically asked to changed into a gown at every appointment
  • developing a ‘things to do while you’re waiting’ guide for patients.

Patients tell us how much they value the opportunity to influence the delivery of local services.

I don't like to feel like a powerless victim. I want to feel that I have some sort of control and I am properly informed.

And staff really value their input.

The patient involvement was vital and they felt involved and listened to. The information they gave was heartfelt and made staff sit up and take note.

Up to eight hospitals will have the opportunity to work on their own Secondary Breast Cancer Pledge during 2017. If your hospital would like to be one of them, contact our Head of Specialist Support Services Sylvia Ward on 0114 263 6495 or

Register your interest now