Advanced Breast Cancer Campaign, Here & Now, Launches In The UK As It's Revealed Nearly 8 In 10 Do Not Know That The Disease Is Incurable

New research shows significant disparities in UK public's awareness of advanced breast cancer (ABC)versus early breast cancer

New findings from a public survey commissioned by Novartis Oncology have revealed that although 81%1 of UK respondents are aware that early breast cancer can be treated so that a patient is free from disease, 77%1 of respondents were either unsure or did not know that advanced breast cancer cannot be treated so that the patient can become free from the disease.1 Additionally, one in five of respondents in the UK don't know or are unable to correctly define advanced breast cancer.1

The findings are released this week to mark the pan-European launch of the advanced breast cancer disease awareness campaign Here & Now, which aims to improve care and support for this often overlooked group of patients. As part of the campaign launch, the breast cancer community gathered in Brussels for an exclusive viewing of a sound installation called I am not the cancer. The installation conveys the real-life experiences of women with advanced breast cancer and features the moving story of a patient from the UK.

Victoria Harmer, Team Leader/Clinical Nurse Specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, "Research has shown that women with advanced breast cancer often feel isolated from those having treatment for early breast cancer. To ensure we're sufficiently supporting women with advanced breast cancer in the UK, we need to build awareness and understanding of the disease so that together we can overcome any barriers to optimal patient care. I welcome the launch of the Here & Now campaign; it's a critical step in changing the current landscape for those with advanced breast cancer."

Panos Alexakos, Oncology General Manager, Novartis UK & Ireland, commented, "Advanced breast cancer is an incurable disease that affects over 30,00 women across the UK.2,3 We have launched the Here & Now campaign to illustrate the realities for women living with the disease and we hope to uncover insights into the disease and the societal contributions of these women that have not previously been explored on this scale. By securing an in-depth understanding of the disease landscape, we can work together towards providing patients with the support they require."

As part of the Here & Now launch, two critically acclaimed artists, sound artist John Wynne and visual artist Tim Wainwright, were commissioned to create the thought-provoking and technically innovative sound and video installation, I am not the cancer. John Wynne says: "We set out to encourage the women to speak directly about what is most important to them, rather than trying to solicit responses that would illustrate particular points. There are of course shared experiences between women with advanced breast cancer, but we were most surprised by how differently they deal with it. For one, family and friends take on increased importance, for another the situation becomes a spiritual journey to be experienced alone, while for another work remains a crucial focus."

Tim Wainwright adds: "I am not the cancer offers a brief but intensely personal glimpse into not only the physical implications of the disease but the emotional and practical aspects as the cancer intrudes on every aspect of these women's lives. We were struck by how their response to the illness transforms over time, particularly in how they adapt to changes in their family life and what they felt their place in society to be."

As well as video and audio footage from the I am not the cancer sound installation, further campaign materials including the findings of the pan-European survey of patients and carers will be made available later in the year.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the UK and accounts for around 31% of all new cancer cases.2,4 Advanced breast cancer, is an incurable disease and affects an estimated 30,492 women across the UK.2,3 Advanced stage disease remains incurable and consequentially, goals of therapy are primarily focused on the management of symptoms, delay of disease progression and prolongation of overall survival time without negatively impacting quality of life.5 Despite the progress made in recent decades, the current treatment landscape for advanced breast cancer is challenging and there is currently no universal standard of care for patients.