Marks & Spencer and Breast Cancer Now plan to prevent 9,000 cases of breast cancer a year by 2025

Marks & Spencer and Breast Cancer Now unveil plans to help prevent 9,000 cases of breast cancer a year by 2025

LONDON, 2015-9-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) today launches a new partnership with Breast Cancer Now which aims to raise £13 million over the next five years in a bid to prevent 9,000 cases of breast cancer a year by 2025. This will play a part in Breast Cancer Now’s wider goal to reduce 30 per cent of cases of breast cancer by 2050.

To kick off the partnership a new social media campaign #ShowYourStrap will call upon M&S customers to take to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to show support for the battle against breast cancer, by posting a selfie showing their bra strap. Nominations of friends and family to do the same will be encouraged, along with donating £3 to Breast Cancer Now via text.

From tomorrow and throughout October M&S stores nationwide and M&S.com will promote the partnership and stock a range of exclusive lingerie – including a post-surgery bra with specifically developed features for women who have undergone surgery – fragrance and flowers that will include a donation to Breast Cancer Now. M&S’ biggest store, Marble Arch on Oxford Street, will turn pink for October.

The money raised by the partnership will help Breast Cancer Now’s scientists discover a way to calculate an individual woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. It is hoped this vital research will lead to the development of a risk assessment tool in the future that will better inform women of the options available to them based on their own, personal risk of breast cancer.

Currently, women in the UK have an average one in eight chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime and only women considered ‘high risk’ because of their family history are entitled to additional check-ups and preventative options, which may help them reduce this risk. However, there is no such thing as an average woman and the development of a risk prediction tool for all women to use would mean many more could benefit from tailored risk reduction advice in the future.

Jo Jenkins, Director of Womenswear, Lingerie and Beauty at M&S says: “This is a campaign that will have a direct impact on the fight against breast cancer and it is a cause that matters to our customers. Over the past 14 years, together with our customers, we’ve raised over £20 million for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, now Breast Cancer Now, and we’re now making it even easier for our customers to get involved and donate to this amazing cause.”

Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive of Breast Cancer Nowi says: “One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 10 minutes in the UK. While our Generations Study – which M&S has played an integral part in helping to fund – has already given us unprecedented insight into the causes of breast cancer, we still don’t know enough about how these different factors interact and what this means for an individual woman. The continuing research that M&S and its customers will help make possible will enable our scientists to take that all-important next step to ultimately start preventing the disease, sparing women and their loved ones the fear and uncertainty breast cancer can cause.”

Research previously conducted by Breast Cancer Now  revealed that 82 per centii of women surveyediii agreed that, if it were possible, they would want to use this tool to find out their individual risk of developing breast cancer if it was offered free by the NHS. Further researchiv to find out why women would want to be told their risk was mixed and prompted multiple considerations from many, including 45 per cent agreeing they would want to know for peace of mind; 38 per cent to feel more in control of their health; and 38 per cent to make an informed choice on whether they should change their lifestyle.

However, despite the desire for women to find out their own risk of developing breast cancer, only 23 per centv claim to be ‘very aware’ of what factors can increase risk of the disease.

While helping to fund important research into breast cancer prevention, the five-year initiative will also include a wellbeing programme to share the most up to date advice on what more general steps women can take now to help reduce the risk of breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight.

The partnership between M&S and Breast Cancer Now is part of Spark Something Good, which aims to get employees and customers involved in Plan A (M&S’ eco and ethical programme). Launched in July this year, customers and employees can get involved by volunteering in their community, Shwopping old clothes or donating to local and national causes, including supporting the battle against breast cancer.

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

For further information / interviews / images:

Vishal Rana vishal@hellounity.com 020 7440 9810
Robyn Swan robyn@hellounity.com 020 7440 9810

On social:

#ShowYourStrap
Twitter: @marksandspencer
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarksandSpencer
Instagram: @marksandspencer

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,067 women, of which 1,059 don’t have/ have never had breast cancer. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16th-17th September 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK women (aged 18+).

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,074 adults, of which, 1,017 were women who agreed to take part in the survey. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3rd – 4th September 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About Plan A
Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s sustainable business plan that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan is focused on customer, employee and supplier engagement and includes commitments that tackle issues such as climate change, waste, raw materials, health and being a fair partner.

About Breast Cancer Now

  • Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity;
  • Breast Cancer Now’s ambition is that by 2050 no one will die from breast cancer. The charity is determined to stop women dying from the disease, working in a new, collaborative way and bringing together all those affected by the disease to fund research, share knowledge and find answers;
  • M&S has worked with Breast Cancer Now (via its heritage charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer) since 2001. During this time, M&S has raised £20 million for the charity’s cutting-edge research, including the Generations Study, a study following more than 113,000 UK women over 40 years to help better understand the causes of breast cancer;
  • Breast Cancer Now’s world class research is focused entirely on breast cancer. The charity supports nearly 450 of the world’s brightest researchers at more than 20 locations across the UK and Ireland. Together, they’re working to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage so we can stop the disease taking lives;
  • Breast cancer is still the most common cancer in the UK. Nearly 700,000 people living in the UK have experienced a diagnosis and one in eight women will face it in their lifetime. This year alone, more than 50,000 women will be told they have the disease;
  • The UK still has one of the lowest breast cancer survival rates in Western Europe and this year alone nearly 12,000 women will lose their lives. It’s time to act;
  • Breast Cancer Now launched in June 2015, created by the merger of leading research charities Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

For more information on Breast Cancer Now’s work visit breastcancernow.orgor follow us on Twitter or on Facebook.

i As Breakthrough Breast Cancer in 2014

ii Research conducted by YouGov on September 2014 – 1,082 representative panel size; secondary research conducted by YouGov on September 2015 – 1,067 representative panel size
iii Women who agreed to take part in the survey
iv Sample excluded women who have/had ever had breast cancer
v Sample excluded women who have/had ever had breast cancer
SOURCE: Marks and Spencer plc