MP Answers Call to Help Improve Breast Cancer Survival to Match the Best in Europe

MP for North East Hertfordshire, Oliver Heald, recently met with Sally Burton from Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s Campaigns & Advocacy Network (CAN) at the 12th annual Westminster Fly-In event to discuss how to improve breast cancer survival rates. Oliver also took the time to sign up to Breakthrough’s Bridging the Gap in Breast Cancer Survival Charter, which outlines the commitments needed to make sure more women survive breast cancer.   

Nearly 48,000 women and 300 men are diagnosed with the disease each year, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. Even though more women are surviving breast cancer than ever before thanks to better awareness, screening and treatments, survival in England still lags behind some other European countries. If England was to achieve survival rates at the European best for breast cancer, an estimated 1,000 lives could be saved each year.

In response to this challenge, Breakthrough Breast Cancer developed the Bridging the Gap in Breast Cancer Survival Charter and believes that the Government can tackle this issue by supporting its key principles; promoting breast awareness messages to help drive early diagnosis, providing access for all eligible women to gold standard NHS Breast Screening Programmes and maximising the potential of breast cancer research, to create personalised or targeted treatments.

Oliver signed the chartersaying “We have the opportunity to make effective change that can save lives.   It is clear that by following these principles, we give ourselves the best possible chance to match our European counterparts’ breast cancer survival rates and make a real difference”

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancersaid: “Breast cancer knows no political, social or demographic boundaries – it has the ability to affect everyone. That’s why more needs to be done to bridge the gap in breast cancer survival rates. It’s great that the MPs here today have signed up to support our Charter but the next step is for us to see real action and for MPs to really throw their weight behind it so we can end the fear of this disease for good.”

You can support Breakthrough Breast Cancer and find out more about the work it does at


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About Breakthrough Breast Cancer:

  • Our vision is a future free from the fear of breast cancer.
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer is dedicated to improving and saving lives through finding the causes of breast cancer, enabling early detection, ensuring precise diagnosis, discovering new and better treatments and improving medical services. 
  • We fund ground-breaking research, campaign for better services and treatments and raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Through this work the charity believes passionately that breast cancer can be beaten and the fear of the disease removed for good.


About breast cancer:

  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK – nearly 48,000 women and around 300 men are diagnosed every year.
  • Breast cancer accounts for nearly 1 in 3 of all female cancers and one in eight women in the UK will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime.
  • Around 1,000 women die of breast cancer every month in the UK.
  • The good news is that more women than ever in the UK are surviving breast cancer thanks to better awareness, better treatments and better screening.

About the Bridging the Gap Charter:

The eight principles included in the charter are:

  • Effective breast awareness campaigns, like Breakthrough’s Touch Look Check campaign, should be promoted to increase the number of women who know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
  • All eligible women should have access to the best possible breast screening services.
  • All patients should receive an accurate and timely diagnosis.
  • Everyone should have access to high-quality, accurate information about breast cancer risk factors, awareness, screening and treatments to make informed decisions about their health and care.
  • All patients should have the chance to be meaningfully involved in helping shape and improve breast cancer services.
  • Everyone with breast cancer should have timely access to safe and effective treatments tailored for their individual case of breast cancer and personal circumstances.
  • The UK should remain a hub of world-class breast cancer research with long-term, sustainable support and funding for this vital work.
  • All patients should have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials appropriate to them.

Breakthrough’s Campaigns & Advocacy Network (CAN) brings together over 1,000 individuals and organisations to campaign for improvements in breast cancer services across the country. The Westminster Fly-In started in 2000 and is Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s annual training and lobbying event to improve breast cancer services and consists of training workshops, learning more about breast cancer issues and meeting other people who have had similar experiences.  The Fly-In culminates in Breakthrough CAN members meeting with their local MP to discuss working together to improve breast cancer services locally and across the country.