Breast Cancer Care launch new #hiddeneffects campaign to uncover the true story of what it’s like to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
The charity hopes to raise awareness so that anyone facing this brutal disease knows that Breast Cancer Care is here, to support them and their families.
Although the survival rates of breast cancer have increased over the years with more than eight out of ten people surviving beyond five years after a diagnosis, the journey doesn’t end there.
While many people are familiar with the visible signs of breast cancer and its treatment such as hair loss and breast surgery, the true emotional and physical impact of a diagnosis can often be hidden. Particularly when a woman is five, ten or fifteen years post treatment. This is the first time, six eye-catching adverts have been created to highlight these issues to the public.
Hayley shares her story to help raise awareness for the #hiddeneffects campaign.
Hayley, 41, Norwich had lots of unseen side effects and found it hardest when treatment had ended and she went back to work.
Hayley was diagnosed in January 2013 at 39 years old. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She said: “NYE 2012 I remember saying ‘that was a boring year, I hope 2013 is better’ but a diagnosis of breast cancer wasn’t quite what I meant!”
Hayley didn’t suffer that much during treatment it was after her hospital based treatment ended that the real problems began. The Tamoxifen stops her from sleeping and she has hot flushes in the middle of the night. Aching bones from her treatment have stopped her from running.
“I went back to work full time at the beginning of the year; the new me, new hair, eyebrows. However, I crashed, so now it’s back to part time.
“There needs to be more focus on how common it is to feel low after active treatment.” Hayley used Breast Cancer Care’s Headstrong service, publications and online forum for support."
Rachel Rawson, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care says: “We often hear from women who are struggling with lesser known side effects like losing their finger nails, loss of fertility and early menopause or fatigue and weight gain. We also hear from those who are struggling with the unseen emotional consequences of a diagnosis like loss of femininity and struggling to regain body confidence after surgery - which amongst other things can result in not feeling sexually attractive with a current or new partner. There is also the strain of returning to work and the potential financial worries, combined with the daily fear of breast cancer returning.
“Often it is these unexpected effects of breast cancer that hit people the hardest. Especially when they keep them hidden from their friends or family who may think and want them to be “recovered” and ‘back to normal’. At Breast Cancer Care we talk to more women diagnosed with breast cancer than anyone else, so we understand the devastating impact a diagnosis has. Through our new campaign, we want to raise awareness so that more women know that Breast Cancer Care is here, to support anyone waking up to the harsh reality of breast cancer every day.”
Breast Cancer Care is the only UK-wide specialist support charity helping women live with, through and beyond breast cancer. The charity provides its specialist nurses, local services and vital emotional support network for free. With one in eight women now diagnosed in their lifetime, there has never been such an urgent need for its services.
Breast Cancer Care’s new #hiddeneffects campaign raises awareness of the huge impact the disease has on every aspect of a woman’s life. Join the conversation by visiting www.breastcancercare.org.uk/hiddeneffects