On Monday, 21st January, Breast Cancer Ireland hosted an annual gathering of scientists, surgeons, specialist nurses and patient ambassadors in the beautiful boardroom of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) overlooking St Stephen’s Green to update on developments in research, with particular focus on genetic and other risk factors, for young women diagnosed with the disease. Breast surgeon, Head of RCSI’s Medical School and Chairman of Breast Cancer Ireland, Professor Arnie Hill, along with clinicians in the area of breast cancer research, diagnosis and treatment shared their insights into how the landscape of the disease is changing in this country.

Amongst the contributors to this annual event was Professor Leonie Young who leads the Endocrine Oncology Research Group based at York House in RCSI, Dr Paul Mullan who is based in Queens University Belfast, Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, and currently investigating metastases of breast cancer, Belinda Foat Breast Nurse Specialist from the Family History Clinic, Beaumont Hospital and Aisling Hegarty, Breast Cancer Ireland Nurse and PhD Scholar, currently conducting research into BRCA1.

The group updated survivors and their families as well as Breast Cancer Ireland Ambassadors, including 98fm news reader, Georgie Crawford who shared her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, over the past eighteen months. Also contributing to the event is secondary teacher, Emma Cassidy who spoke eloquently and honestly about her breast cancer journey, the fact that her treatment is now finished and her delight in returning to her students last September.  Also in attendance were Breast Cancer Ireland’s Outreach Co-ordinators who visit schools, offices and community groups throughout Ireland, offering a complimentary presentation promoting good breast health.

Commenting on the event, CEO of Breast Cancer Ireland, Aisling Hurley comments, “The research, currently taking place in laboratories here in Ireland and overseas, is ground-breaking and I am heartened that the significant progress being made will continue to positively impact on women who are diagnosed in 2019.”  She continues, “It is important that women who are undergoing treatment are brought up to speed on the progress being made. Their attendance at events such as this one, but most importantly, their participation, alongside our specialist breast cancer research nurses, in the designated cancer centres, in providing tissue and serum samples to the national bio resource, is making a difference into the future”.