The issues identified in our report, Good Enough? Breast Cancer in the UK are having an impact on people across the UK – here are just a few of their stories:
April (pictured), 25, is a young mammographer based in North West England
“Having spent three years working for the National Breast Screening Programme, I made the difficult decision last December to resign from my job because of the pressures I was facing.
There is undoubtedly a staffing crisis in mammography. One barrier lies in the difficulty in getting into the profession - you first have to train three years to become a radiographer, and then another year to become a mammographer. The cost of living has also increased over the past ten years, while mammographer and radiographer wages have stayed the same and workload has increased hugely. There is only so much harder people can work for such little gain.”
Simon Skinner from Bridge of Weir in Scotland lost his wife Sue, aged 55, in October 2014 after a battle with secondary breast cancer. While living in Ireland, Sue received Perjeta as part of her cancer treatment.
“There’s no cure for secondary breast cancer, but there are a growing number of drugs that can delay the spread with few side effects, buying patients’ time with their loved ones. In Sue’s case, that precious time was 18 months. During that time we lived and loved as any normal couple. We enjoyed and cherished every moment that we had together.
Unfortunately, my wife won’t be the last to suffer the agonising pain of realising that one day tomorrow might never come. I owe it to Sue, and to the women and their families who are being denied these life extending drugs across the UK to make sure that this issue is heard. Everyone needs to work together and sort this out.”
Melanie Kennedy, 39, has secondary breast cancer. She is a single mother to two young sons from Bangor, Northern Ireland.
“Since starting (secondary breast cancer drug) Kadcyla, I haven’t experienced the debilitating side-effects I endured with chemo so I have continued campaigning. I’ve been fighting not only for my life, but for the lives of women who are not in the same good health I am.
The system is broken. Those with the power to fix it should remember that every time a drug stops working and a patient is denied their next best option, they feel like they’re being diagnosed all over again.”