“Wear it Pink” for October – Breast Cancer Awareness month

Marks and Spencer launch the “wear it pink” campaign for Breast cancer awareness month

In the UK, around 1 in 8 women will suffer breast cancer at some stage in their life. October is breast cancer awareness month.

To mark breast cancer awareness month, Marks and Spencer have worked with breastcancernow.org to launch the “wear it pink” campaign. (wearitpink.org)

Despite the high profile campaigns and the celebrity endorsements, the UK still lags behind some of it’s European neighbours in treating breast cancer. On 19 September 2015, novelist, Jackie Collins lost her fight with breast cancer after a 6 year battle. High profile deaths such as this once again highlight breast cancer and the realities of a breast cancer diagnosis.

In March 2015 Macmillan Cancer Support published its analysis of cancer survival rates across Europe. The new analysis showed that 81 per cent of women in the UK who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2005 and 2009 were alive five years later. Compared to other forms of cancer, breast cancer has a high survival rate. However, Sweden, France and Italy all achieved survival rates of between 83 and 84 per cent a decade earlier, with their latest survival rates at between 86 and 87 per cent. It is clear therefore that there is significant room for improvement in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in the UK.

In September 2015 a drug, previously only licensed for advanced breast cancer, was licensed for use in women with early but aggressive forms of breast cancer. Pertuzumab (Perjeta) fights HER2-positive breast cancer and its new licence means it can be used before surgery to shrink and control tumours. According to manufacturer Roche, the drug could help more than 1,800 patients a year in the UK.

The medicine has not been recommended for widespread use on the NHS by the watchdog NICE or the Scottish Medicines Consortium, but patients in England with advanced breast cancer can obtain it through the Government’s Cancer Drugs Fund.

It is hoped that the licensing of drugs like Pertuzumab together with earlier and better diagnosis rates will improve survival rates in the UK.

If you, or anyone you know, is concerned that there may have been a delay either in a diagnosis or in treatment for cancer, contact one of our specialist lawyers on 0800 316 8892 or email vanessa.harris@clarkewillmott.com