Breast cancer: why 85pc of those with the disease are BEATING it

It’s a pretty frightening statistic: in the last decade, the number of breast cancer cases in this country has risen by a third.

Annual diagnoses now stand at some 2,800 women.

However, 85 percent of those with the disease are surviving, thanks largely to cancer research which is improving detection and treatments.

Paint It Pink supporters Roz Purcell with Marion and Lisa Dwane

Indeed, the Irish Cancer Society has invested €7.5m in BREAST-PREDICT, a five-year study focused on breast cancer research.

And now Paint It Pink is calling on all of us to host a pink coffee morning or event this October to support the charity’s important research, advocacy and services.

One celebrity getting behind the drive is model-turned-foodie Roz Purcell, whose own sister, Rachel, was last year diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.

“Every family has been touched by cancer, and for women, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer,” Roz, 25, said recently.

“This October we can help support all those on their breast cancer journey by Painting It Pink – host a coffee morning or pink event and play your part.”

Researcher Lisa Dwane is from Dublin. Her studies focus on hormone-driven breast cancer. Lisa’s mother Marion is a breast cancer survivor, and it was this experience which drove Lisa to pursue her chosen career path.

“My mam was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 37 years old and I was 14. Seeing what my Mam went through I wanted to do something to help women so that no family ever has to go through that kind of pain again,” Lisa said.

Marion was diagnosed with stage 3A hormone driven breast cancer; she had a lumpectomy, then chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Herceptin had just been made available in Ireland at the time and Marion was one of the first to avail of the new treatment. Now, 11 years later, she is cancer free and extremely proud that her daughter is helping others through her career.

Lisa added: “About 70 percent of breast cancers are hormone driven. Most of these women will be treated with tamoxifen and about one third of them will relapse within 15 years.

“We’re looking for new ways to treat this type of patient, patients that either fail on tamoxifen treatment or don’t respond at all.

Marion herself, from Clondalkin, said of her daughter: “I’m so proud of her. Cancer research is so important. I’m living proof of this.”

Members of the public can help fund vital cancer research and support services for those affected by cancer by Painting It Pink this October. Visit or call 1850 60 60 60 for fundraising ideas and information on breast cancer.

The Paint It Pink campaign is kindly supported by Centra.