The Unsurvivors

Once breast cancer has spread to another part of the body, it can no longer be cured. This is called secondary breast cancer. People living with secondary breast cancer face fear, anxiety and uncertainty every day.

But they are here right now, living life. And they want to be seen, heard and understood.

Women and men with secondary breast cancer want access to treatments that will help them live well for longer. They want to receive support and care to help them navigate living with this disease.

But Breast Cancer Now’s research shows that far too often this isn’t the case.

Many people with secondary breast cancer experience delays in diagnosis, struggle to access the support of a specialist nurse and fear they won’t be able to access the treatment they need in the future. 

This has to change.

We won’t stop until everyone with secondary breast cancer receives a prompt diagnosis, until everyone has fast access to the treatment they need at a price affordable to the NHS and until everyone is supported by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

But, to make this change happen, we need you. Add your name to our call to tell those in power, including the next UK Government, to take action.

Read our full letter to the to the next Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, the Minister for Health and Social Services and the next Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

To the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, the Minister for Health and Social Services and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland:

For over a decade there have been calls for changes in key areas that would begin to improve the experiences of people with incurable secondary breast cancer in the UK. But across too many areas, change has been slow or not forthcoming.

A survey conducted by Breast Cancer Now of over 2000 people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK, the biggest ever survey for this patient group, has highlighted key issues that now require immediate action.

The survey results have shown that many people with secondary breast cancer are experiencing delays in diagnosis, struggling to access the support of a specialist nurse and are fearful they won’t be able to access the treatments they need in the future.

In our new report and campaign, ‘The Unsurvivors’, we set out the action that needs to be taken to improve the diagnosis, treatment and support offered to people living with secondary breast cancer in the UK.

We call on you to take action for people with secondary breast cancer, by:

• Working with the NHS to support GPs to recognise the signs and symptoms of secondary breast cancer and provide a prompt diagnosis

• Urgently meeting with Breast Cancer Now and other stakeholders to address the reasons why secondary breast cancer drugs aren’t always reaching patients quickly

• Providing the necessary investment to recruit and train enough Clinical Nurse Specialists

• Committing to undertake a national audit to understand the number of people living with this disease and their experiences

Will you commit to take action on these recommendations, and meet with Breast Cancer Now and secondary breast cancer patients, to discuss the issues facing them and hear their experiences first-hand?