Ministers must act on ‘totally unacceptable’ breast cancer support, says charity

A breast cancer charity has called on the Government to tackle a “totally unacceptable” lack of care for women with the disease.

Breast Cancer Care said that, in its survey of almost 3,000 women with breast cancer, 41% said they did not get the professional support they needed to cope with the long-term effects of the disease.

On Monday, the charity said it also found that 51% of hospital trusts do not give a specific support appointment after women finish treatment.

The charity is calling on cancer minister Steve Brine to commit to ensuring every woman has access to breast cancer-specific support to help them after treatment.

Its chief executive, Samia al Qadhi, said: “It’s totally unacceptable that women with breast cancer are being routinely let down in such large numbers.

“After being blindsided by the life-changing, long-term emotional and physical effects of the disease, far too many women are left to pick up the pieces by themselves, without the healthcare support they so desperately need.

“Great strides in treatment over the last 70 years mean that, happily, more and more women are surviving breast cancer. Now it’s crucial that the system catches up and ensures that these women are given the ongoing care they need to live well – not just to survive.”

The charity said it is estimated that 579,000 women are living with a breast cancer diagnosis in England.

Also in the survey, 46% of women said they are not told of the possible long-term effects by a medic, and 45% are not warned the disease could return.

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