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A third of women with incurable breast cancer feel their worries were simply dismissed by doctors and nurses, a damning report reveals.
Some were sent away by GPs when they first sought help with symptoms, while others were told they needed to 'just get on with it'.
Illness - Women - Information - Support
And when the illness was eventually diagnosed, women said they felt 'very alone' and were not offered vital information and support.
The report, which examined the experiences of nearly 850 women with incurable breast cancer, also found:
Women - Britain - Stage - Breast - Cancer
Around 36,000 women in Britain have incurable or 'secondary' stage breast cancer and it claims 11,600 lives a year. It means that tumours have spread to the bones, brain or other organs and will never be completely eradicated.
Despite the prognosis, there are treatments which can slow the tumours' spread and many patients go on to live for years.
Today - Report - Charity - Breast - Cancer
Yet today's report by the charity Breast Cancer Care reveals that these women are often treated worse by NHS staff than those expected to be cured.
One woman described feeling as though doctors and charities gave up on her when tumours returned more aggressively. She said: 'I have felt very alone. With the primary diagnosis there was so much information and help from the hospital and charities.
Diagnosis - Hushed - Report - Illness - GPs
'With the secondary diagnosis it's been all hushed.' The report also reveals that the illness is routinely missed by GPs even though many patients have had breast cancer before.
Unlike 'primary' breast cancer – which typically appears as a lump in the breast – secondary tumours cause vague symptoms such as back pain, sickness,...
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