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Breast cancer patients ‘are abandoned by the NHS’

 
  • Around 36,000 women in England have incurable or secondary breast cancer
  • Just 21 per cent have a specialist cancer nurse to help with incurable cancer
  • 76 per cent of organisations admitted they did not have enough specialist help 

Sophie Borland Health Editor For The Daily Mail

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Tens of thousands of women with incurable breast cancer are being abandoned by the NHS, a damning report warns.

Hospitals are prioritising patients who will make a full recovery and ignoring those whose tumours are terminal.

Almost 80 per cent of hospitals have no specialist nurse for women with incurable breast cancer to help with pain relief or emotional support.

Almost 80 per cent of hospitals have no specialist nurse to help women with incurable breast cancer. Around 36,000 women are believed to have incurable or secondary breast cancer (file photo)

Almost 80 per cent of hospitals have no specialist nurse to help women with incurable breast cancer. Around 36,000 women are believed to have incurable or secondary breast cancer (file photo)

Almost 80 per cent of hospitals have no specialist nurse to help women with incurable breast cancer. Around 36,000 women are believed to have incurable or secondary breast cancer (file photo)

And two thirds don’t even know how many women under their care have this stage of breast cancer – even though it is a mandatory requirement.

An estimated 36,000 women in England have incurable or secondary breast cancer, which means tumours have spread to the bones, brain or other organs. 

Their average survival time is between two and three years. But today’s report by Breast Cancer Care warns that these women are being ‘forgotten’ by the NHS.

Its report is based on a survey of 155 hospitals and health trusts in the UK as well as in-depth interviews with nurses and patients.

It found that just 21 per cent employed a specialist cancer nurse dedicated to caring for patients with incurable breast cancer. 

In contrast, 95 per cent of women with curable or primary breast cancer were given a specialist nurse’s name.

In contrast, 95 per cent of women with curable or primary breast cancer were given a specialist nurse’s name. 76 per cent of organisation said they did not have enough specialist nurses to help women with incurable breast cancer (file photo)

In contrast, 95 per cent of women with curable or primary breast cancer were given a specialist nurse’s name. 76 per cent of organisation said they did not have enough specialist nurses to help women with incurable breast cancer (file photo)

In contrast, 95 per cent of women with curable or primary breast cancer were given a specialist nurse’s name. 76 per cent of organisation said they did not have enough specialist nurses to help women with incurable breast cancer (file photo)

Some 76 per cent of organisations admitted they did not have enough specialist nurses for women with incurable forms of the disease. 

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Care, said: ‘These findings highlight the worrying truth – care for people with incurable secondary breast cancer is not good enough.’

An NHS England spokesman said: ‘We are working closely with others across the NHS to agree the best way to widen access to specialist support for all people living with cancer, including those living with secondary breast cancer as part of our plans to transform cancer services across the board.’

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