Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women around the world.1 But contrary to common belief, breast cancer is not just one disease.
There are several types of breast cancer and identifying which form a woman has is essential in tailoring the best treatment for her.
For the most part, a single shade of pink has come to represent this disease. But at Roche, we explore whether breast cancer can be a single shade, when it is not a single disease. Each woman has her own story, her own unique cancer, her own shade of pink.
That’s why this Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are launching #MyShadeofPink, a campaign to reimagine the way we talk about breast cancer. In collaboration with women living with different types of breast cancer and a colour scientist, we are embarking on the creation of a new palette of pink, each colour representing the story of a woman affected by the disease to signify that each woman’s breast cancer is as individual as she.
#MyShadeofPink aims to better educate everyone at risk of, or affected by, breast cancer to learn about the different types of the disease, so that they are empowered to have informed conversations with their doctor about a personalised treatment approach.
Find out more about our mission to create a new palette of pink:
At the heart of #MyShadeofPink are three women; Rachael, Ike and Alexandra, who will share unique stories of their breast cancer journey. Each of their stories represents a different set of emotions, experiences and hopes that may not be accurately represented by one shade of pink.
"When I was first diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer I had the usual reaction - 'Fear - What if I die?'. But what scared me more than being faced with my own mortality?. I was terrified of what cancer could steal from me – my chance of becoming a mum. The doctors devised a tailored treatment plan for me and ahead of getting started on chemotherapy I took the decision to have my embryos frozen. It certainly wasn’t an easy journey with plenty of ups and downs along the way, but I’m still here. And the best news, my little boy is nearly three years old! I feel so blessed to have him." – Rachael
"Initially I was told I had triple negative breast cancer, but was later diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer. It made the world of difference to me knowing that I needed a specific type of treatment for my specific type of breast cancer. Cancer treatment is tough, but I understood why each separate element was needed and that made it a little easier in a way because I knew I was doing everything I could to fight this disease.
A cancer diagnosis puts everything in perspective. The fear of it returning will always be there, but I’m a stronger person now and I treasure the life that I have with my husband and three beautiful boys." – Ike
"In 2017, I was diagnosed with minimal hormone receptive-positive breast cancer, however following initial treatment I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.
The diagnosis came as a surprise and knocked me off my feet. It was something I did not expect. I did not know anything about breast cancer and was surprised to learn that there are several types of the disease and different treatment options for each type.
Before the treatment started, I was worried about the physical side effects of the drugs, but little did I know about the emotional turbulences ahead of me. That said, my everyday life, between toddlers and chemo, does not stop because of this diagnosis.
Cancer is still a taboo subject and is associated with a lot of shame and prejudice. I want to change that. Only when everyone is openly talking about it do you realize just how many people are impacted by this disease." – Alexandra
“Power is knowing that there is more than one type of breast cancer. Knowing that it’s these different types that are affecting women each and every day. And that by identifying which type a woman has is essential in tailoring the best treatment for her. At Roche, we are committed to taking back the power from breast cancer by raising awareness of the different types and continuing to improve outcomes for people with this complex disease.” - Dr. Nana Scotto, Franchise Head, Breast Cancer and Gynaecologic Malignancies, Roche
There are several types of breast cancer, which can be classified based on the proteins (known as receptors) that coat the surface of the cancer cells. Treatment options like surgery, radiotherapy, or treatments including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy and hormonal therapies can be given depending on the type of breast cancer a woman is diagnosed with.
So while you may have heard of HER2-positive, triple-negative or HR-positive breast cancers, it’s vital to take time to understand your specific breast cancer, the ‘stage’ of your breast cancer and the best course of treatment for you.
Ferlay J, et al. [Online]. Available from:http://globocan.iarc.fr[Accessed May 2015].