THE BLOG

The Beginning of the End of Breast Cancer Deaths in the UK

19/06/2015 17:23 BST | Updated 19/06/2016 10:59 BST

We are Breast Cancer Now. It really does feel fantastic to finally be able to say that. After six months of planning, preparation and sheer hard work, we were absolutely thrilled to share our new name and identity on Monday.

We'd been met with nothing but goodwill since announcing the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer in November, but the outpouring of support and positivity we received at launch this week, from every corner, was almost overwhelming - thank you.

The truth of the matter, however, is that a launch is just that: it's the start. Merger, and the birth of Breast Cancer Now, has never been the end-result, the final change we want to see. It is merely our opportunity: our chance to be the generation that finally stops women dying from breast cancer.

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We are proud to be one. We will certainly not forget where we have come from, but it is now time to look forward.

Our legacy charities make up an extraordinary prologue to a new story; the story of the people that finally put an end to breast cancer, but this will only be possible if we all act now. Chapter one starts here.

We've spent the last six months trying to build a really well-functioning organisation; one that will have the capacity, expertise and research portfolio to achieve this vision. But if we are to fully realise the opportunity that merger has created, we'll need everyone who cares about breast cancer to stand with us.

Together, we must fund relentlessly, collaborate profusely and campaign effectively until breast cancer ceases to take the lives of the women that we love. Our promise is to tackle the disease from all angles: to prevent it developing, to detect it earlier and to improve the quality of treatment and services for women living with it.

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If we are to realise this 2050 vision, we'll need to invest at least £300million in ground-breaking research over the next decade. We'll need to start tackling issues currently untackleable, and chartering the unchartered; together, leaving no stone unturned.

One avenue of research that we were particularly excited to announce this week is the Breast Cancer Now LEGACY Study for Secondary Breast Cancer. The pilot study, sponsored by The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and made possible by Walk the Walk, will allow patients with secondary breast cancer to donate their metastatic tissues for research shortly after death.

Enabling scientists to analyse these tissues in a way that has never been done before in breast cancer in the UK, LEGACY will help address what is a real paucity in our understanding of secondary breast cancer and begin to provide some answers to how we can prevent and treat it.

This really is our burning desire: to find treatments that will give women back the time that secondary breast cancer currently steals. We are utterly convinced that if we all act now, by 2050 everyone that develops breast cancer will live.

You may by now have seen our new ad campaign - the visual portrayal of this ambition - The Last One, which made its premiere on Channel 4 on Monday evening.

Exclusively featuring women living with breast cancer, the message of The Last One is bold and hard-hitting, and one that we hope will begin to give voice to the forgotten stories of breast cancer patients.

For we know that we can no longer afford not to speak about the realities of breast cancer, and, more importantly, of women dying from the disease. One day there will be a last one, and we believe that if we all act now that day could arrive by 2050.

On behalf of everyone at Breast Cancer Now, I must say thank you to Georgina, Miranda, Julie, Rashpal, Helen, Mary, Danielle, Emma, Julie, and Alex for helping us tell the story of The Last One - and also to Moira, participant of not only the LEGACY study but of one of the most inspiring interviews we have ever seen, broadcast on Monday's Channel 4 News. Your insurmountable bravery has brought tears to our cheeks this week but it has also brought hope and passion to our hearts. You are why we are launching Breast Cancer Now.

You and so many others across the country are our inspiration, our motivation and our raison d'être. And what might seem slightly bemusing to some at first is something that's actually most important to us: our new mark.

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Put simply, the heart is our heart, plain and bare. It represents the loved ones that we have lost to breast cancer, and those that we care deeply about that are currently living with it. It stands for the cherished people and memories behind why we do what we do.

It's always baffled me how anyone can entertain that one type of cancer (or cancer charity) could be more important than another; it's not the cancer that's important, it's the people. The people that mean so much to us.

But it also represents our beating heart: our supporters and scientists. The people across the country whose huge generosity, endeavour and hopefulness continues to inspire and drive us forward.

Those that choose to spend their time fundraising for us, campaigning with us, helping to raise the profile of our work and the need for much more of it. Many of them in memory of, or motivated by, someone close to them that has experienced breast cancer. That's what the heart is all about.

By coming together we're creating the opportunity to channel the hearts, drive and pure love of our supporters into hard science that will save and improve lives.

Please know that Breast Cancer Now is cheering you on each and every day, through every marathon, concert, bake sale or letter to your MP. You and your loved ones are the heart of us, and we are proud to have you emblazoned across our name, identity and everything that we do from here on in.

We believe that, by 2050, breast cancer will have taken its last life - but only if we all act now. Help us make The Last One a reality.