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Getting to know: Our Charity Partner, Breast Cancer Now

This month at D&D London we are partnering with Breast Cancer Now to help them raise funds for their Pink Plates campaign. We will be supporting them by adding a discretionary £1 to the bill after you dine at any of our UK restaurants.

This charity was selected by many of our employees when they were asked which Charity they would like for us to support.

We caught up with Clinical Nurse Specialist Catherine Priestly and Jade Lowe, from Breast Cancer Now, ahead of the partnership. They were kind enough to inform us on both what customers will be supporting through their donation and supply us with important information about breast cancer.

How can individuals help people in their lives who are facing breast cancer?

Most people are shocked to hear they have breast cancer. They can experience many different emotions including anger, fear, sadness and anxiety. Feelings can change from day to day, and even hour to hour, so it can often be difficult to know what to say and how best to support someone.

Just being alongside someone and allowing them to express how they’re feeling is one of the most important ways of supporting them. Listening to your friend or relative talk about how they’re feeling can sometimes be difficult or distressing. But try not to be afraid or upset. If you’re not sure how to respond, and it’s appropriate, giving them a hug can be a good way of showing that you’re there for them.

Offering specific help often works better than saying ‘What can I do for you?’. For example, it can be better to say, ‘Would you like me to pick the children up from school tomorrow?’. Practical support such as cooking meals for freezing, or transport to and from hospital appointments can be really useful for some people too.In what ways do you offer support for people affected by breast cancer?

Breast Cancer Now offers information and support to anyone affected by breast cancer. Whether they have a query about breast cancer or breast health, questions about treatment, or moving forward after it’s finished, our specialist nurses and trained staff are ready to listen. Anyone can get in touch through our free, confidential Helpline and Ask Our Nurses email services.

People looking for information about a breast cancer diagnosis, treatment or breast health, can rely on our award-winning, free publications and online information, all written by clinical specialists.

We also run face-to-face and online services for those undergoing treatment for primary breast cancer, or living with incurable secondary breast cancer (breast cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body). Joining a support group or connecting with others who understand can often help people feel more in control.

As nurse specialist for secondary breast cancer, I’m often involved with our vital support services and get to see first-hand the real difference they make to people’s lives. To find out more about any of our services or information, call our free, expertly staffed Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

What are the most important things people can do to detect breast cancer early?

The sooner breast cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be. So, at Breast Cancer Now, we encourage both women and men of any age to be breast aware and encourage women to attend routine breast screening when invited.

Being breast aware means getting to know what your breasts or chest look and feel like normally. This will then give you the confidence to get any new and unusual changes checked out by your GP.

Breast screening uses a breast x-ray, called a mammogram, to look for cancer that may be too small to see or feel. That means they can pick up breast cancer before there are any signs or symptoms. From the age of 50, women are invited for a mammogram every three years until their 71st birthday, as part of the national breast screening programme. You can find out more by reading our booklet Know your breasts: a guide to breast awareness and screening here:

Are there any misconceptions about breast cancer that you would like people to be aware of?

A common misconception that comes up on our Helpline is that if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer, you’re less likely to develop it.

Many different things can affect your chances of getting breast cancer, including a significant family history. But the biggest risks are actually those we can’t control – being female and getting older.

Because breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, many of us will have a female relative that’s been affected. However, even if you do have a relative with breast cancer, it doesn’t necessarily mean this affects your risk of developing the disease. Only a small number of people will have an increased risk of breast cancer because of their family history.

How have things improved for those diagnosed with breast cancer and what are your hopes for the future of breast cancer treatment?

Breast Cancer Now’s vision is that by 2050, everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live, and be supported to live well. While breast cancer survival rates have doubled in the UK in the last 40 years, more people than ever are being diagnosed, with the number increasing year on year. One in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Advances in treatments in recent years have greatly improved survival rates and quality of life for people with breast cancer. Breast cancer is now a highly treatable disease when it’s diagnosed early. And a growing number of new treatments are also giving some hope for the future to people diagnosed with incurable secondary breast cancer. This is particularly important to me, as a nurse specialist supporting people with secondary breast cancer.

In the past few years, researchers have gained a better understanding of the molecular and genetic characteristics of breast cancer, helping experts develop more personalised treatment plans. I hope this will continue to gather momentum, meaning that a bigger range of kinder, smarter treatments can be developed, and better access to them, so that we can improve the treatment of secondary breast cancer.

But too many lives are still being lost to breast cancer. So we’re not stopping yet. We’ll keep researching new ways to treat, prevent and diagnose the disease. And we’ll keep supporting anyone affected, and raising awareness of the needs of those living with incurable secondary breast cancer. We’re really grateful to everyone participating in the ‘Pink Plates’ initiative, so thank you from all of us at Breast Cancer Now. Your money will help us create a future where everyone who develops breast cancer lives, and is supported to live well.What are the main ways that Breast Cancer Now raises its funds?

Breast Cancer Now fundraises through a combination of community and events fundraising, gifts from trusts and major donors, and partnerships with corporate organisations. Building our network of supporters is crucial for us to provide more life-changing care, and fund more world-class research.

What can customers expect their £1 to be going towards?

The money you raise will help to make life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing care happen. Each pound you pay in will help us to make sure that anyone affected by breast cancer in the UK can get the support they need today, and have hope for the future.

£100 could…

mean we can explain to 300 people how breast cancer is treated through our Treating primary breast cancer booklet. This guide tells people what treatments they might have, and talks about what happens next once they’ve had a diagnosis.

£250 could…

pay for one full working day of research. That’s one whole working day for a researcher to better understand breast cancer, work on their projects and make breakthroughs with the disease.