COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Breast cancer glamour excludes groups at risk

Media coverage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month has become so ubiquitous and glamorous that the campaign is in danger of bypassing those most at risk, according to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

It says the annual campaign has grown so big and successful over its 10-year history that it has taken on a life of its own, making coverage almost impossible to control.

Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, says the biggest challenge for the charities is to maintain the media's interest in the campaign, while generating more targeted coverage that reaches older women who are at most risk of developing breast cancer.

"The acres of press coverage during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is testament to the hard work that all breast cancer charities have put into the campaign over the years," she said. "But we must now all work harder to ensure that coverage doesn't just focus on the glamour aspects of campaign, which can lead older women to think that the campaign's messages aren't relevant to them."

Breakthrough Breast Cancer's 'Fashion Targets Breast Cancer' campaign, which features famous models and celebrities, has raised the profile of Breakthrough's work during the awareness month.

Pamela Goldberg, chief executive at Breast Cancer Campaign, says the charities should work together to get the press interested in messages about older women.

"We can't start knocking the glittery side of the campaign, which has made it so appealing to the public, but I think we can put our heads together and work out how to start addressing the real issues that are still going unheard," she said.

Christina McGill, assistant director of communications at Breast Cancer Care, said the success of the charity's recent '80 Over 50' campaign, which specifically addressed the low level of awareness about breast cancer among older women, proved that such a challenge could be met.

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