What is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worldwide annual campaign involving thousands of organisations, to highlight the importance of breast awareness, education and research.
Find out the ways you can get involved and support our work during the month.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we aim to get as many people as possible involved in raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research.
As one of Nigeria’s largest charity, along with our supporters, we do this through campaigning, collecting, an array of events across Nigeria as well as, of course, wearing it pink with all of you!
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month do something great – make life-saving research happen by supporting THE MORDI IBE FOUNDATION’s PINK MOVEMENT!
What else can you do?
There are plenty of other ways to get involved and support our work during Breast Cancer Awareness Month and beyond.
From campaigning to help women get access to the breast cancer drugs they need, to sharing information women need to know about checking their breasts, your support will help to reach the day when breast cancer has claimed its last life.
Campaign with us
We campaign to stop women dying from breast cancer and make sure that everyone affected by breast cancer receives the best possible treatment and services.
We’re only able to do this alongside our incredible supporters taking action to create change.
It’s really easy to get involved and just a few minutes of your time could make a real difference.
Become a campaigner
Help us fight for breast cancer patients by joining our amazing network of campaigners.
Our Policy Work
We strive to ensure that all breast cancer patients receive the best possible treatment and care.
we work with patients, healthcare professionals, law makers (especially politicians), and other stakeholders to help us achieve this aim through formulation of functional policies that work towards cancer research and prevention (including prevention)
About our research
We believe we can stop women dying from breast cancer by 2050 – but only if we all ACT NOW.
We aim to make sure we fund the most impactful research, in the nearest future and right now we support this cause through awareness prevention campaigns, celebrating the Survivors, supporting the warriors, honouring the fallen and NEVER EVER giving up whilst upholding HOPE.
Our research is focused on four key areas – risk and prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment and secondary breast cancer. We believe that this approach to research will allow us to achieve our ambition and stop breast cancer taking lives.
The best weapon we could have against breast cancer is the ability to stop it occurring in the first place. To do this, we need to know who is most at risk of breast cancer and what we can do to prevent them from developing it.
Risk and prevention
Find out how we are setting our sights on preventing breast cancer altogether.
Our aim is to accurately predict who is at increased risk of breast cancer and enable them to take action with the right interventions – whether that’s lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, risk-reducing surgery or drugs.
By 2025, we believe we will be able to prevent up to 15% of breast cancer cases.
By 2050, we believe that we will be able to prevent 30% of breast cancer cases.
We’ve pioneered risk and prevention work across research and embedded it in public health and policy campaigns. Now, by building on these strong foundations, we believe we have the potential to drastically reduce the numbers of women developing breast cancer in the future.
Understanding the genetic and lifestyle causes of breast cancer is critical to discovering how to prevent the disease. We need to work out how genetics, such as faults in the BRCA genes, affect the risk of developing breast cancer.
Our researchers are also investigating how a person’s genes might work together with non-genetic risk factors (such as age, age at first period, childbirth, and breast density) to collectively increase their overall risk of breast cancer. This knowledge could help to improve current methods of assessing breast cancer risk in people with a family history of the disease.
We don’t yet know enough about what causes male breast cancer and how it differs from breast cancer in women. Our researchers are using samples of male breast tumours donated to our Tissue Bank to study changes to the DNA, to understand how they increase breast cancer risk in men. Ultimately this could help to accurately predict a man’s risk of developing breast cancer.
We are also aim to run one of the world’s largest studies into breast cancer in men to uncover the genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that increase breast cancer risk in men.
Risk-reducing drugs (chemoprevention) also have a role to play in stopping women developing breast cancer, but with this opportunity comes real challenges. We can’t yet predict which women will respond to these drugs, so our researchers are working hard to figure out who they’re most likely to work for, as well as finding alternatives for those who won’t benefit from existing drugs.
We’re getting better at earlier diagnosis, but more needs to be done. Find out more about our research to help detect breast cancer earlier and accurately.
Early detection and diagnosis
Diagnosing breast cancer quickly and accurately is vital, as the earlier breast cancer is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chances of survival.
Our aim is that an increasing amount of people will be diagnosed early and our improved understanding of different breast cancers will better their chances of successful treatment.
By 2025, we believe we will have identified those at increased risk of breast cancer so a further 2,850 women each year will have their disease diagnosed early.
And by knowing which breast cancers require treatment and which don’t, we will eliminate overtreatment, saving more than 4,000 women from unnecessary treatment each year.
As a result of our research, we understand more than ever about the earliest stages of breast cancer and how it develops. Through our pioneering health information and campaigns, we’ve worked to turn this knowledge into practical interventions and solutions for women facing the disease. Now, we’re working to ensure every woman receives the right diagnosis at the earliest opportunity.
By understanding the earliest changes in the development of breast cancer, we will make sure women are diagnosed early. Our researchers are investigating the cellular processes that regulate he early development of normal breast tissue. These processes are often defective in cancer, so understanding how they normally work will improve our understanding of the early changes that signal breast cancer, which could lead to new ways to detect the disease.
We must ensure the best methods are implemented to detect breast cancer at its earliest stages. A new “imaging” technique called Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) acts like a ‘3D mammogram’, providing 3D images of the breast. Our researchers will be able to use cutting-edge computer modelling to develop a technique to spot areas of high breast density. This could eventually be incorporated into routine breast screening, enabling doctors to spot the signs of breast cancer earlier than is currently possible.
We need to ensure that the breast screening programme evolves to incorporate new evidence on the best ways to group people by risk. Currently women over 40 with an increased risk of developing breast cancer due to a family history of the disease can could be offered a yearly mammogram but this is not available for women aged 35-39. If we are able to get funding, a large scale clinical trial is currently assessing how effective mammography is at detecting breast cancer in these women to see if they could benefit from screening. This pioneering research will provide much-needed evidence to inform international best practice for monitoring these women.
Breast cancer treatments must be personalised to each individual. Our research aims to improve treatment options and ensure all patients can access the right treatment for them.
Breast cancer is not just one disease – there are more than 20 different types of breast cancer that we know of. That’s why treatments must be highly targeted, personalised to each unique individual and their particular form of breast cancer. But there’s more we need to know before we can truly fit the right treatment to the right person.
By 2025, by improving treatment options we believe 13,000 more women will have their primary breast cancer effectively treated.
By 2030, we believe we will have identified what causes different tumours to grow and progress, enabling us to select the best treatment for every patient.
Our research into new treatments hope to change the landscape for breast cancer patients. Now, we must develop treatments that are highly targeted and as unique as each individual patient, ensure all patients can access the right treatment for them and that everyone living with and beyond breast cancer receives the support they need.
Making sure the government invest in science and research and that the environment in which research takes place is working as best it can will be critical. To do this, we must ensure the legal framework supports innovations in treatment and that Higher Education is delivering the skills and the workforce needed to develop the treatments of tomorrow.
We need to know what kick-starts breast cells to become cancerous, and tumours to form, and what triggers their growth and makes the disease progress for each patient. Our researchers are sifting through vast collections of tumour tissue and DNA from women with different types of breast cancer to help understand how the different forms of the disease develop and behave. This pioneering research is already speeding up progress towards developing new drugs and directing existing treatments more effectively. Our researchers are also studying how to stop cancers from progressing by looking at the process of cell death, where potentially harmful cells commit suicide to protect the body. This process doesn’t work in cancer cells, so our researchers are trying to find ways to kick-start cell death.
Finding the right treatment for each patient means understanding how they respond to drugs and developing tests to predict this in advance. This will help tailor the type and intensity of treatment, in some cases allowing patients to safely avoid treatments where the potential side effects outweigh the benefits.
We must also find ways to stop breast cancers developing resistance to treatments. Our researchers will be studying resistance to drugs like tamoxifen and PARP inhibitors to understand how cancer cells evade treatments, so that we can learn how to deal with resistance by either changing treatment regimens, or by avoiding resistance in the first place.
Hard-to-treat breast cancers present a further challenge. We must find effective treatments for patients whose options are currently limited. There are still no targeted treatments approved for triple negative disease, which affects 15% of women with breast cancer. Our researchers will be leading a practice-changing study called the Triple Negative Trial, which is aiming to work out which of two chemotherapy drugs work best for women with triple negative breast cancer. We’re also working to develop new drugs for these patients.
While it’s vital to treat the physical symptoms of breast cancer, it’s also essential to ensure a patient’s emotional wellbeing is taken care of to protect their long-term quality of life. Our researchers have shown that up to 60% of people with breast cancer stop taking their anti-hormone treatments, such as tamoxifen, before the end of five years, which increases the chances of their disease coming back. By talking to patients and healthcare professionals, our researchers are getting to the bottom of this problem and designing ways to support people taking tamoxifen to ensure they get the maximum benefit from the drug, increasing their quality of life and chances of survival.
Secondary breast cancer research
We’re ramping up research efforts to stop women dying from secondary breast cancer and working to ensure that women living with secondary breast cancer receive the best possible care.
Secondary breast cancer – breast cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body – kills 1,000 UK women a month (now imagine what this cancer is already doing in Africa)
While there is currently no cure for secondary breast cancer, we are making real progress in understanding how and why cancer spreads, how it can be treated and what we need to do in order to stop it becoming resistant to treatments.
New drugs have been developed that are giving women and men with secondary breast cancer more quality time with their loved ones, with less severe side effects than other treatments.
By 2025, as a result of increased research, we believe 25% fewer people will develop secondary breast cancer.
By 2030, we believe more than 50% of those diagnosed with the disease will survive beyond five years.
We must create an even greater focus on secondary breast cancer, doing more to understand the biology of the disease and how to effectively tackle it, improving treatments and ensuring the needs of those living with it are met.
- We need to develop ways to better identify those at risk of their breast cancer spreading. Our researchers are working on techniques that involve looking at tumour DNA found in patients’ blood to seek early indicators that their cancer is about to spread, so that rapid action might be taken to stop it from happening.
- Tumour and blood samples from women with secondary breast cancer are vital for research, however these samples are in very short supply. Working sensitively and collaboratively with consenting patients and their families, we will work to enable secondary tissue to be collected along with information about the treatments that did and didn’t work for each patient.
- We must develop new treatments to stop breast cancer spreading and champion clinical trial designs that support their development. We need more research into how novel therapies and combinations of existing drugs affect secondary breast cancer, to optimise the treatment that patients receive. Our researchers are hunting for ways to stop secondary breast cancer taking hold, including investigating special cells in the breast tumour called ‘cancer stem cells’, thought to be responsible for seeding new tumours elsewhere in the body, to figure out how to stop them in their tracks.
- We need to understand when and how cancer cells escape and spread to become incurable secondary breast cancer. Research is beginning to reveal that healthy cells throughout the body may be playing an important role in the development and spread of breast cancer. Many of our researchers are now studying these cells, including the cells that line the blood vessels and cells of the immune system, with the hope of finding new treatments that could harness these non-cancer cells to slow or even prevent the spread of breast cancer throughout the body.