This month has seen some major news in the fight against cancer. Hopefully you can’t have failed to notice the big story this week about updated guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) that recommends the use of two drugs to help prevent breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease because of their family history, giving these women more treatment options than ever before. It’s been described as a “game changer in the way we prevent breast cancer” by the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer and rightly so. If you want to know more, an informative Q&A’s been written by another breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Campaign.
It’s major news to women at moderate or high risk of breast cancer. Before now, the only way for high-risk women to reduce their risk of breast cancer was to have their breasts removed (a mastectomy), which is major surgery. Only last month, Angelina Jolie went public about her decision to have a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer. It prompted bloggers like Jen from Mum in the Madhouse to bravely talk about the decision she made four years ago to have a double mastectomy after discovering she had a faulty gene that substantially increased her risk of developing breast cancer, just like Angelina. Hopefully, the option of taking a daily pill for five years will be an alternative to this major surgery and will empower women at risk to take control and do something tangible to try to prevent breast cancer.
Cancer can be a devastating disease affecting not just those who receive a diagnosis but their family and friends as well. This is particularly highlighted by a very touching post by Angie (whose blog is Cakes, Photos, Life) about how cancer hits all and her experience of seeing a special friend pass away from the disease. Angie’s post is one of a series of guest posts on Mammasaurus, the blog by none other than the very lovely Annie, who has taken part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life this year.
Another blogger who has literally just completed a Race for Life this year is Nickie at Typecast. Nickie announced she was officially taking part after being approached by the event’s sponsors and because her daughter had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just over one-year-old (and who thankfully went on to make a full recovery).
And there’s an update on Team Henry‘s blog (Henry being a six-year-old boy undergoing treatment for leukaemia). Since I last wrote about this remarkable little boy, he has not only had a positive test result showing that he may not need a bone marrow transplant but, in the most recent blog post, he insisted on taking part in a fundraising run at school and notched up 1km in 20mins. Good going Henry!
Cancer is one of those diseases that needs to be given a good kicking and everyone’s stories are inspirational and heart-wrenching at the same time. From the little boy that doesn’t let his illness get him down to the woman who chooses major surgery to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer.
I hope that the news this month of treatments to help prevent breast cancer in women most at risk because of their family history will pave the way for more preventative methods. There’s a lot of research into cancer going on and lets hope more medical advances can be made so we can continue to give cancer the good hiding it deserves.