A little while ago, following my own breast cancer diagnosis, I decided that I wanted to raise some money for breast cancer: for both research and support. But rather than just donate to the first charity that came to mind, I decided that I ought to do a bit of research to find out where I wanted to help. The results of my research were really interesting – I came across charities I had never heard of, I found out about the amazing things that charities were doing, I spoke to some really interesting people at the charities and I was then able to make an informed decision about how I could help. The information was too important to keep to myself, so I’ve created this Directory of Breast Cancer Charities to help you make an informed decision too. And just a little note here – I think all these charities are worthy of your donations. I am not making any judgments about these charities or telling you where you should donate your money. The decision is yours – the information below is aimed at helping you make that decision.
There are a huge number of very worthy cancer charities in this country. Some charities do work in relation to many different types of cancer, including breast cancer, for example, Macmillan, Maggies, Marie Curie, Shine, Trekstock, Stand Up 2 Cancer, local support centres, local hospices on so on. The list is endless and they are all incredible charities who deserve your donations. However, on this page, I am going to talk about charities that focus entirely on breast cancer.
If you are thinking of making a donation to a breast cancer charity, I would urge you to think about what you want your donation to do:
- Where do you want to help make a change?
- Do you want to donate towards research for new treatments for primary breast cancer?
- Do you want to donate towards research for new treatments for secondary breast cancer?
- Do you want to contribute to researching ways to prevent primary breast cancer spreading into secondary breast cancer?
- Do you want to help the research into preventing all breast cancers?
- Do you want to help support those who are going through breast cancer?
- Do you want to specifically support those with secondary breast cancer?
- Do you want to help fund campaigns for access to better drugs?
- Or do you want to support a variety of these activities?
- Or do you just want a better understanding of how your money will be spent by the charity to which you donate?
To help you with your decision, I have listed below ten charities working in the Breast Cancer sector. I have provided a snippet of what they are about (taken from each of their websites) and I have provided information received directly from the charities on the breakdown of where their funds go. Not all the charities have provided the information yet, but I am working on it so this page is a ‘work in progress’. I have also provided a link to their homepages, annual reports (where available) and a link to their donation pages. But do note that the information below is just a snippet of the full story – charities all have differing dynamics, strategies, immediate, long term and short term aims and it is important to look beyond the black and white figures of accounts at what is going on behind the scenes.
When it comes to supporting breast cancer research, remember that there are multiple research projects currently being undertaken in the breast cancer research sector. Some of the research projects are funded by one of the charities, and some are funded by more than one charity (funding is also awarded by the Government in some instances). So, if you think, “I want to donate to a charity that funds research into breast cancer” you might like to take a look at the research projects that are funded by each of the charities. Details are provided below, or links are given for you to access further information. The other thing to remember is that (as I understand it) researchers do not work in a vacuum: they collaborate with each other, publishing papers and sharing findings.
Please note, don’t be put off by the fact that these charities have to use a small proportion of funds towards their overheads and infrastructure – the charities (especially the larger ones) can’t run for free. This information on this page is in no way intended to make any judgments on how much a charity spends on overheads.
I personally think that each of these charities, whether they are big or small, are doing truly amazing things. By providing this information, I am trying to encourage you to think about how you want to help “breast cancer”. You wouldn’t order a book from the bookstore without knowing the title, author, genre and background to the story. Likewise, if you are giving money to a charity why not look into how you would like your money to help.
Do have a read of their websites before making your choice. And remember, you can donate to more than one charity.
So, in alphabetical order:
1. AGAINST BREAST CANCER
“Against Breast Cancer funds pioneering research into new treatments, tools for earlier diagnosis and advice to reduce the risk of recurrence and secondary spread. Working with expert scientists we want to increase the survival rates of all breast cancer patients and ultimately, discover a vaccine against breast cancer.”
Their ambition is to develop a vaccine against breast cancer.
This charity purely funds cutting edge research into secondary breast cancer. They fund long term research projects, provide grants for shorter projects and fund fellowships at Oxford University. All research projects involve looking at the spread of breast cancer. They are looking at three main areas – researching new treatments for SBC, ways to detect SBC earlier, and whether there are ways to reduce the risk of developing SBC. Of course, they have necessary overheads and admin costs, which vary from year to year, and which they strive to keep to a minimum. (Information received directly from Against Breast Cancer for the purpose of this post).
To donate to Against Breast Cancer, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
3. BREAST CANCER NOW (as merged with Breast Cancer Care)
This is the biggest UK breast cancer charity and they work in breast cancer research, support for those going through it and campaigning for access to drugs and better care for patients.
By funding almost 340 of the brightest minds in breast cancer research, we’re discovering how we can prevent, save lives and live well with breast cancer. Giving us the power to drive forward on a global stage. To date, we’ve already invested £230 million in breast cancer research – and we’re not about to stop. Right now, we’re funding around 80 cutting-edge projects across the UK worth just over £26 million.
Our breast care nurses, expertly trained staff and volunteers, and award-winning information is all here to make sure anyone diagnosed with breast cancer gets the support they need to help them deal with the physical and emotional impacts of the disease.From our Moving Forward courses, Living with Secondary Breast Cancer groups, Younger Women Together events and Someone Like Me service to our Becca app, online Forum, Ask Our Nurses service, Helpline and publications on diagnosis, treatment or breast health – we’ll always be here.
We’re determined to make sure anyone affected by breast cancer gets the best possible treatment and care. We’re working side-by-side with hospitals and their patients to improve breast cancer services. And with one heart and one voice, locally and nationally, our network of change-makers is acting now to tackle the biggest challenges that stand in the way of creating a future where everyone with breast cancer lives – and is supported to live well.”
Breast Cancer Now is the largest UK charity involved in research. They also provide information about the disease which raises awareness and helps those with the disease to understand it better.
Questions are often asked as to what proportion of research funding goes on primary versus secondary breast cancer. This is a very difficult question to answer. They fund many research projects and these are grouped into the categories ‘treatments’, ‘risk and prevention’ and ‘secondary cancer’. However, projects in all categories can include research that might be potentially applied to secondary cancer (even if it does not fall explicitly in the ‘secondary cancer’ category). See further information on their website for a list of their current research projects.
Website Breast Cancer Now
Latest Financial Reports for the legacy charities of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now are available on their website here.
To donate to Breast Cancer Now, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
4. BREAST CANCER HAVEN
According to their website, “Breast Cancer Haven is the charity that supports women through their breast cancer treatment. [They] provide the tailored package of emotional, physical and practical support … via a network of six welcoming centres around the UK and through an expanding network of other services. [They] offer advice on practical things like money and work, help combatting stress, exhaustion and nausea, advice on healthy eating and exercise. And above all, there will always be someone to talk to about your deepest fears. All services are free of charge.”
To donate to Breast Cancer Haven, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
5. CANCER RESEARCH UK (ok, so not 100% dedicated to breast cancer but they have a dedicated breast cancer research team)
According to their website, “From studying the biology of breast cancer cells in the lab to leading clinical trials testing cutting-edge treatments, our researchers are working hard to ensure more women survive breast cancer.”
To donate to CRUK in the research of breast cancer, follow this link to the donation page on their website
According to their website, “CoppaFeel!’s mission is to spread awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, empowering young people with the knowledge and tools to know their own bodies. We want to live in a world where all breast cancers are diagnosed at the earliest stage possible.”
This charity focuses on raising awareness of the signs of breast cancer. They spend 71.65% on their awareness work which includes their Boobette programs, University teams, awareness campaigns, work with GP surgeries, and more (full information is in their financial report). They spend 13.2% on overheads which includes staff time, rent, electricity, postage, rates and taxes, accounting and audit fees, and so on. The remaining % is spent on the cost of generating funds. (Information received directly from Coppafeel! in 2018 for the purpose of this post).
To donate to Coppafeel, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
7. MAKE 2NDS COUNT
According to their website, “Make 2nds Count is dedicated to making women and men living with secondary breast cancer count. We aim to do this by raising funds to support research specifically into secondary breast cancer. The research will work towards extending and improving the quality of life for patients battling against this currently treatable yet incurable disease.”
To donate to Make 2nds Count follow this link to the donation page on their website.
8. PINK RIBBON FOUNDATION
“The Pink Ribbon Foundation is a grant making trust with a mission to fund projects and provide financial support to UK charities which relieve the needs of people who are suffering from, have been affected by breast cancer, or who work to advance the understanding of breast cancer and its early detection and treatment.”
Pink Ribbon make grants of between approximately £300 and £5000 to a whole range of small breast cancer charities/non-profit organisations (a list of these can be found on their website). These organisations are generally ones providing support to breast cancer patients and vary from ones providing treats and days out for breast cancer patients to ones providing support with living with the effects of breast cancer treatment. The Foundation is run by unpaid trustees and every attempt is made to minimise overhead costs. The Foundation believes in transparency and have published their guiding principles on their website. (Information received directly from the Pink Ribbon Foundation for the purpose of this post).
To donate to Pink Ribbon Foundation, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
9. SECONDARY FIRST
This charity funds a post-doctoral fellow in a breast cancer research team focusing on preventing the spread of secondary breast cancer.
“Secondary1st is proud to fund vital research that is seeking a cure for secondary breast cancer. Thanks to our wonderful supporters we are now able to fund a post-doctoral fellow in the research team led by Dr. Claire Wells at King’s College London. Dr. Wells is a leading expert in how breast cancer cells migrate to other parts of the body, and a long-time collaborator with Professor Andrew Tutt of King’s College and the Institute of Cancer Research. Our “Secondary1st Researcher”, Dr. Michaela Lesjak, is investigating the ways in which breast cancer cells can dissociate from the primary tumour, invade the surrounding tissue and then metastasise to other vital organs, with particular reference to two molecules which work together to make cancer cells more invasive. Dr. Lesjak’s work studying how breast cancer cells spread aims to give a better understanding of which patients are more likely to be at risk of their cancer spreading. Dr. Wells’ team can then start work on the development of new treatments to prevent the spread of breast cancer, and ultimately save lives.”
In 2017, 93.74% of donations went towards secondary breast cancer research; 1.83% went towards support costs; and 4.83% towards other costs. The charity is run by volunteers so that more of the money can go towards research. (Information received directly from Secondary First for the purpose of this post).
To donate to Secondary First, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
10. SECOND HOPE
“Second Hope is the only UK charity specifically for people living with advanced breast cancer. Its mission is to provide hope and strength by raising awareness, providing support, campaigning and funding research into advanced breast cancer.”
How they spend their funds “ALL the monies raised go to fund our charitable aims and objectives. Our charity is run by the trustees and a team of volunteers who all donate their time and expertise free which means that none of your donations go to pay expensive overheads and salaries.”
To donate to Second Hope, follow this link to the donation page on their website.
This article was originally written in September 2018 so any figures are as that date.