To mark the launch of the charity’s new breast cancer awareness campaign, ‘Join the fight for women’s survival’, Cancer Research UK is calling on all women to be breast aware, act now to reduce their risk of getting the disease, and do whatever they can to raise money to fund the charity’s lifesaving work.

‘Join the fight for women’s survival’ is designed to act as a rallying call to support the charity’s work. The campaign aims to engage people with breast cancer, encouraging women to be aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of the disease and to understand the importance of early detection.

On the fundraising side people across the UK are being encouraged to hold fundraising parties, buy a limited edition duck designed by Dame Judi Dench or give £2 a month. A new pink camouflage ribbon will also be available.

Breast cancer is the most common women’s cancer in the UK, with one in nine women developing the disease at some point in their lives, and Cancer Research UK’s work to beat the disease remains crucial.

Thanks to research, improved treatment and early detection, breast cancer death rates have fallen below 12,000 a year, for the first time in 40 years. Of those women diagnosed with breast cancer today, two-thirds are likely to survive for at least 20 years. Four out of five (80 per cent) of all cases of breast cancer occur in women aged 50 and over, but it is important for women of all ages to know what is normal for them and report any unusual changes without delay. Women who are 50 and over should attend screening when invited.

Cancer Research UK is the largest single funder of breast cancer research in the UK, spending around £44 million on groundbreaking work into the disease last year. Teams of researchers across the UK are dedicated to improving our understanding of the causes of breast cancer and investigating new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.

Dr Lesley Walker, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer information, said: “Cancer Research UK’s world class scientists and doctors have made a huge amount of progress in improving the detection and treatment of breast cancer, with more women surviving than ever before. We know that early detection is crucial and that many more lives could be saved if every woman was breast aware and attended screening when invited. But with almost 12,000 women still losing their lives to breast cancer each year, we need everyone’s help to raise vital funds to push forward with our life-saving research.”

Charity partners Peacocks, The Pampered Chef, Tesco and Mothercare will also be selling their own range of breast cancer awareness products, with a percentage of the sales going to Cancer Research UK. is also partnering with Cancer Research UK again to launch another handbag amnesty.
For more information on Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer awareness campaign visit

For more information on the importance of detecting cancer early visit



More than 45,500 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK, and approx 300 cases occur in men
For further information on Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer awareness campaign visit
For more information about cancer, its risks and treatments, visit

Breast Cancer

A significant history of breast cancer in the family includes the disease affecting a close relative before the age of 50, or if two or more close relatives on the same side of the family have been affected. If appropriate your doctor will refer you to a breast are unit or genetics clinic.

Women’s risk of breast cancer (based 2001-2005) by age:

241 in 15,300
291 in 2,300
391 in 200
591 in 22
691 in 14
791 in 10
 841 in 9
 Lifetime risk1 in 9



  • Be breast aware
  • Attend screening when invited
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Keep moderately active for half an hour, five days a week
  • If possible breastfeed your children for at least six months


  • Cancer Research UK is a major funder of the Million Women Study, which showed that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could increase the risk of breast cancer. These results allowed women to make better informed decisions about taking HRT. The charity’s statisticians recently calculated that breast cancer rates among women in their 50s are falling at the same time as the number of women under 60 receiving prescriptions for hormone replacement (HRT) has halved.
  • Cancer Research UK scientists have shown for the first time how a particular gene can be triggered by oestrogen to begin to drive the development of breast cancer. A team of scientists at the charity’s London Research Institute have shown that oestrogen is able to activate a molecule that is normally involved in fighting infections.
  • In the 1960s, Cancer Research UK scientists first tested the use of mammography as a way of diagnosing breast cancer early. Since then the national breast screening programme has screened around five million women and detected over 100,000 cancers. Our scientists are now working to refine the technique.
  • Our research has underpinned today’s treatments for women with breast cancer. Recently our scientists in Edinburgh made further progress by showing that a test, already used in breast cancer diagnosis, can also predict who will and who will not benefit from some commonly used chemotherapy drugs.
  • Cancer Research UK’s research in the 1980s and 1990s demonstrated the benefits of using tamoxifen to treat breast cancer. Tamoxifen has been a huge success story, helping to save thousands of lives. More recently Cancer Research UK scientists have made further progress by discovering why some women with breast cancer can develop resistance to tamoxifen, meaning their cancer could be more likely to return.

Spotting breast cancer early offers the best chance of successful treatment. So it is important for all women to be breast aware and follow the five point code:

  • Know what is normal for you
  • Look at and feel your breasts
  • Know what changes to look for
  • Report any changes without delay
  • Go for breast screening if you are 50 or over

Changes to look out for include:

  • changes in the size, shape or feel of your breasts
  • a new lump or thickening in one breast or armpit
  • any puckering, dimpling or redness of the skin
  • changes in the position of the nipple, a rash or nipple discharge
  • pain or discomfort that is new to you and felt only on one side