Living with and beyond breast cancer
A breast cancer diagnosis is a traumatic experience that affects not only the patient, but also their family, friends and colleagues. While it’s vital to treat the physical symptoms of breast cancer, it is also essential to ensure a patient’s emotional wellbeing is taken care of to protect their long-term quality of life.
By 2025, we hope all those diagnosed with breast cancer, and the people close to them, will receive individually tailored information and support to meet their needs to help them live with and manage the consequences of breast cancer and its treatment.
Where we are now
Research into emotional needs is now an internationally recognised field of study, and people with breast cancer are given information about the disease and its treatment, as well as practical, psychological and emotional support
However, there are still many things we need to find out if we are to best support people living with breast cancer. These include finding out more about the impact of lifestyle interventions on recovery and better supporting patients to take their treatments in the long term, by embedding this as part of their lifestyle.
We need a lot more information about the needs of various groups, such as different ethnic populations, older women and people with additional health problems, to appropriately tailor support to them. And we need to develop and implement the most effective interventions that help address the impact of breast cancer treatment and psychosocial effects of having had the disease, to best support all those affected.
To expand our understanding of the needs of people living with and beyond breast cancer, we have invested £2 million in projects looking into this.
- Aim to more than treble our investment to £7 million in research and campaigning over the next 10 years to address significant and persistent gaps, in particular around interventions and support to improve the survivorship experience
- Commission a series of collaborative psychosocial workshops to tackle how best to effectively implement proven intervention programmes. We’ll develop a plan to take the most effective interventions forward, with a view to working with Academic Health Science Centres to implement them in the NHS aftercare system
- Fund unique research to address some of the difficult emotional issues associated with a breast cancer diagnosis. In particular, research into the most effective way of helping patients to cope with hair loss, how to help prevent long-term insomnia, and to develop a new mindfulness self-help tool to help women cope with the anxiety of having breast cancer
- Support the National Cancer Research Institute’s (NCRI) Breast Cancer Clinical Studies Group Working Party on Symptom Management