On the pulse 27 June 2013

  • Book your tickets to see Antony Sher in Hysteria at the Hampstead Theatre!
  • Beacon on the Hill
  • NICE releases new guidance on familial breast cancer

Book your tickets to see Antony Sher in Hysteria at the Hampstead Theatre!
We are very excited to announce Cancerkin will be returning to the Hampstead Theatre on Monday 7th October 2013 to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Formal invitations will be sent out in the next few weeks, but we wanted to give our supporters a “save the date” message!

This year’s play is Hysteria. Set in 1938 in Hampstead, it follows Sigmund Freud (played by Antony Sher), who has fled Nazi-occupied Austria and is hoping to spend his final days in peace. However, when Salvador Dali turns up to discover a less than fully dressed woman in the closet, this peace becomes somewhat elusive.

An acknowledged Modern Classic, this hilarious farce explores the fall-out when two of the twentieth centuries most brilliant and original minds collide, while also questioning Freud’s radical revision of his theories of Hysteria.

Tickets can be purchased directly from Cancerkin. You will receive your invitation and reservation form in the post over the next few weeks or (if you just can’t wait!) you can contact Holly on h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk to make a booking. Tickets will be sold at an “early bird” discount price of £45 until Friday 2st August 2013 (normal price £50), and, given the speed at which seats have sold out in previous years, we advise that you reserve early to avoid disappointment.

If you have any questions please contact Holly on h.lovering@cancerkin.org.uk or call 020 7830 2323.

Beacon on the Hill
This weekend some of the Cancerkin team headed to Wiltshire to celebrate the lighting of Beacon on the Hill, the result of a collaboration between light installation artist Bruce Munro and Cancerkin.

The evening was a huge success. Around 200 guests gathered together to support the Beacon and watch it light up the countryside in Cancerkin’s colours of pink and blue. As night began to fall, the Beacon slowly emerged glowing against the sky, and knowing all the thoughts, dedications and messages behind the light made it a truly touching sight. Only around 300 of the 2,700 bottles remained “unsponsored” and the overwhelming support this project garnered was plain to see. So far, almost £8,000 has been raised for Cancerkin. Please keep an eye on our website, where photographs of the Beacon will be posted.

This project, and Cancerkin, received much publicity over the weekend, with stories on the BBC and in the Daily Mail, as well as a prominent segment on BBC Wiltshire evening news. To see further works of Bruce’s, please visit his website.

NICE releases new guidance on familial breast cancer
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have released updated guidelines for women who are at increased risk of breast cancer due to their family history.

One of the main changes is that NICE have, for the first time, recommended the use of drugs such as tamoxifen as a risk-reducing measure. However, this recommendation is only for a specific group of postmenopausal women who are at high risk of breast cancer and have not had the disease.

NICE have also advised making genetic screening more widely available to those at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, including women who have had breast cancer or those who are likely to have a genetic mutation, but for whom a sample from a living relative is not available.

The charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer worked closely with NICE to develop these guidelines, and their Assistant Head of Policy, Dr Caitlin Palframan, said the following: “Today’s new guidelines are a game changer in the way we prevent breast cancer. Our strongest tool in the fight against breast cancer is prevention, and these new guidelines are a fantastic leap forward in the way we prevent breast cancer developing in those at highest risk.

“It is so important that people have an array of options available to them to assess and manage their own breast cancer risk. And for those at highest risk, which we must remember is a relatively small number of people in the population, it is equally vital that their options go beyond screening or surgery; through the use of preventative medicine, these new guidelines will help achieve this.

“From here the next challenge is ensuring the NHS is equipped to deliver on the promise of these recommendations; more screening, genetic testing and better preventative options for those few people at highest risk, and Breakthrough will be working to ensure that patients get the benefit of these incredibly valuable guidelines.”

Carolyn Rogers, a Clinic Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care, agreed, saying: “These new guidelines are an exciting development that could help many hundreds of people with confirmed or a potential family history of breast cancer now and in the future.

“Significant changes, including the recommended preventative use of drugs like tamoxifen and raloxifene in high-risk women as an alternative to risk-reducing surgery, are an important step forward in increasing patient options and choice. Many more people in England and Wales will be able to access genetic testing and this latest guidance will help make their care and treatment more consistent.

“We are really pleased to see the recommendation for further research within this complex area, particularly to compare psychosocial outcomes in those who decide to or decide not to have risk-reducing surgery. We know from calls to our Helpline that such a decision can be extremely difficult to make.”

For more information, please see NHS Choices, Breakthrough Breast Cancer or Breast Cancer Care. The full guidelines can be read on NICE’s website.



London, 21st June 2013.  UK breast cancer charity Cancerkin, in collaboration with world-renowned light artist Bruce Munro, will light up a modern day beacon on a hill outside Bath on Saturday 22st June.  The beacon will be constructed from 2,730 individually lit plastic bottles and is designed to illuminate the night sky from miles around the site, sending out a universal message of hope.

“Anyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer can be part of this light show, by sponsoring a light and attaching to it their own personal message, helping to illuminate the night with their hopes.  So far, over 2,400 bottles have been sponsored with messages from those who have lost, loved and survived,” said Cancerkin CEO, Victoria Todd.

The installation, dubbed ‘Beacon on the Hill’, will be placed bottle by bottle on a 288 metre chalk hill just outside Bath.  This presents a huge physical and logistical challenge; the installation was planned to be lit up on 27th November last year but flooding in the area was so severe that safety experts decided to postpone the event.

The artist was inspired to produce this work by the memory of a close friend, lost to breast cancer at just 33.  “This hill and surrounding countryside has long been my ‘canvas’. I lost a dear friend very young to breast cancer. By illuminating the night sky for a brief moment, I hope to send the message “you are not alone”, said artist Bruce Munro.

Beacon on the Hill will be lit on the night of 22nd June 2013, in front of what is expected to be a large crowd of supporters from across the country. The moment will be captured by photographers, adding this work to the catalogue of images from Bruce’s work at the V&A and Longwood Gardens, ensuring Beacon on the Hill will continue to be a symbol of hope and unity long after the lights are turned out.

“This is a historical event which we hope will draw attention to the issue of breast cancer in a remarkable way. There’s still time to lighten your heart and reach for the sky with your own message. Any donation, large or small, will to help fund our specialised support services for women.” said Cancerkin CEO Victoria Todd.


Notes to editors

Supporters have until the 2nd March 2013 to sponsor a bottle with their personal message. To take part, they can download a bottle sponsorship form from the Cancerkin website (www.cancerkin.org.uk), visit our JustGiving page or simply call Cancerkin on 020 7830 2323 to make a donation and leave a personal message.

Cancerkin was set up in 1987 as the first hospital-based, dedicated breast cancer charity in the UK, Cancerkin offers supportive care services to those living with the disease. The charity helps hundreds of women each year deal with the trauma of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Bruce Munro is a British lighting designer and installation artist. Munro is best known for lighting installations such as Field of Light, which was first exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in 2004. Bruce’s most recent exhibition has just been held to critical acclaim in America at the historic Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, with the 23-acre show drawing record numbers to the gardens to experience the night time

On the pulse 20 June 2013

  • Beacon on the Hill
  • Patient Support Group with Dr Anmol Malhotra
  • Research indicates an increase in breast cancer risk for British Asian women
  • Study shows women from more deprived areas are less likely to attend breast cancer screening

Beacon on the Hill
The countdown has begun! With the beacon being lit this Saturday, everyone at Cancerkin is very excited. Messages of hope and dedication are continuing to come in and can be seen on our website.

If you would like to get involved, there’s still time to sponsor a bottle before the Beacon gets lit this weekend (22nd June 2013). For as little as £1, you can help us to illuminate the night with your hope, thoughts and support. To light your light on this beacon, simply visit our website to see the numerous ways you can get involved, or visit our JustGiving page to sponsor a bottle directly.

Patient Support Group with Dr Anmol Malhotra
The next Patient Support Group will take place on Tuesday 25 June and we are delighted to be joined by Dr Anmol Malhotra, Lead Imaging Consultant from the Royal Free Hospital. Dr Malhotra has been a Consultant Radiologist with an interest in breast and oncology imaging at the Royal Free since 2005 and performs breast screening in the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme. He will be discussing recent imaging innovations that have made significant difference to patients and possible future innovations that are on the horizon.

Please note that the session will begin at 2pm, not the usual time of 11am. Spaces are limited, so please call us on 0207 830 2323 or email r.ved@cancerkin.org.uk if you have any questions or to book your place.

Research indicates an increase in breast cancer risk for British Asian women
Research carried out by the University of Sheffield has found that the breast cancer risk for British Asian women has increased.

The study examined breast cancer rates in the South Asian population in Leicester. Previous studies have shown that South Asian women have a lower risk of the disease than white British women. However, this research indicated that there had been a significant increase in breast cancer incidence in this ethnic group in recent years.

The researchers considered breast cancer incidence data from the National Cancer Registration Service and 2001 census data to calculate rates of breast cancer for women from different ethnic backgrounds over a 10 year period (from 2000 to 2009). The trends in incidence were then compared between South Asians and other ethnicities.

They found that between 2000 and 2004, South Asian women had a 45 per cent lower rate of breast cancer than white women. However, by the 2005 to 2009 period, rates of breast cancer amongst South Asian women had risen significantly and were 8 per cent higher than white women, whose rates had not significantly changed. This change was statistically significant in South Asians over 65 years, with women in this group now having a 37 per cent higher risk of breast cancer than white women.

Dr Matthew Day, study leader, said: “Historically South Asian women, and women in lower socio-economic groups, have been considered at lower risk of developing breast cancer. Based on our study in Leicester, this should no longer be considered the case.”

However, Dr Day does add that the cause of this increase is not known: “The exact causes behind this change are not clear cut, they could relate to increases in screening uptake among these groups of women, which have in the past been shown to be lower than in other groups. Or they could be due to changes in lifestyle factors, like having fewer children and having them later in life, increased use of oral contraceptives, and increased smoking and alcohol intake – factors linked to increased breast cancer risk across the board.”

Dr Mick Peake, clinical lead at Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network, said: “The results of the Leicester study should assist public health services to both plan for, and respond to, the changing risk profile of breast cancer in the population, particularly with regards to Asian women who for a long time have been another group whose attendance rate for screening has been low. At the individual level, if women are concerned about breast cancer, they should speak to their GP.”

For more information, please see the BBC website or Inside Government.

Study shows women from more deprived areas are less likely to attend breast cancer screening
Researchers from Public Health England (PHE) and King’s College London have found that women who live in more deprived areas of London are less likely to attend their first routine breast cancer screening appointment.

The study considered the records of 159,000 women aged between 50 and 52 living in London to see whether they attended their first routine breast cancer screening appointment between 2006 and 2009. They found that the largest difference in attendance was in the South East London area, with 73% of women living in the most affluent areas attending their screening appointment, compared with 59% of women in the most deprived areas attending.

Ruth Jack, an epidemiologist from PHE London and study leader, said: “It’s worrying that breast cancer screening uptake is different depending on the deprivation of the area women live in. We need to make sure that things like cost of travel and having time away from work aren’t making it harder for women from more deprived areas to go for screening. Some screening areas within London have a more similar uptake across their area. Any initiatives that have improved attendance in women in deprived areas or from particular ethnic groups should be shared across London and the country.”

For more information, please see the Inside Government website.

Cancerkin runs free community based awareness events across East London which aim to increase knowledge of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and also to explain clearly the process of breast cancer screening. If you know of a local group or organisation that would benefit from a talk, please contact Anisah on 020 7830 2323 or email eastldn@cancerkin.org.uk.