TWO of the largest charities in the battle against breast cancer are to merge, it was announced yesterday.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign will launch the new charity in the spring, with the chief executives of both groups jointly managing the preparations.
More than 4,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland each year. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the country and about 1,000 women die from the disease every year.
The UK’s survival rate is one of the worst in Europe and it is expected that by 2030 about 60,000 women and men will be diagnosed yearly, 185,000 lives will have been lost and 1.2 million people will be living with the impact of the disease.
Both charities believe the merger will lead to more funds being invested in research, a more comprehensive programme of research overall into all areas of breast cancer prevention and treatment, and the creation of a single voice for all those dedicated to ending breast cancer, helping to ensure that the benefits of research reach patients quicker.
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Isla Smith and Stephanie Monk, chairwomen of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer respectively, said: “We could not have achieved all we have for women affected by breast cancer without our inspirational and dedicated supporters.
“As a result of their support, the research they’ve helped fund and the advances they’ve made possible, we’re now able to take this compelling next step forward in our journey to beat breast cancer.”
Breakthrough Breast Cancer raises about £17 million a year through flagship campaigns such as Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, TLC: Touch, Look, Check and projects such as the Breakthrough Generations Study – the world’s largest and most comprehensive study into the causes of breast cancer.
It also currently funds the work of more than 270 research scientists across the UK.
Breast Cancer Campaign raises about £12m a year through flagship campaigns such as Wear It Pink and the Pink Ribbon Ball.
James Jopling, who has been appointed director for Scotland at the new charity, said: “This is absolutely the right decision to ensure that together we will be a stronger, more effective force committed to putting an end to breast cancer in Scotland and the rest of the UK. United, we will achieve our shared ambition that by 2050 no-one will die from the disease.”
Singer Linda Nolan, who has been a long-term supporter of the breast cancer research both charities fund, said: “As my family and I know all too well, a breast cancer diagnosis is completely heartbreaking.
“But thanks to life-saving research funded by both Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Campaign, we have started to answer some of the biggest questions about the disease and have made significant progress in overcoming it.”
The charities have been instrumental in developing new breast cancer treatments.
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