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To stop breast cancer for good by improving early diagnosis, developing new treatments and preventing all types of breast cancer

Breakthrough Breast Cancer


Over 4,500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Scotland each year. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in the country; around 1,000 women in Scotland die from the disease every year.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer opened its Scotland office in 2008. Breakthrough is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to stopping women dying from breast cancer. We will achieve this by finding new treatments, discovering the causes, promoting early detection and ensuring the best possible care for women diagnosed with the disease.


We fund 25% of the UK’s breast cancer research, including more than 270 scientists, one of whom is leading breast surgeon Professor Mike Dixon, who has been the Clinical Lead for Breakthrough’s research in Edinburgh for the past five years. Mike is based at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and has become one of the most powerful advocates of Breakthrough’s work in Scotland, making the case for breast cancer research wherever he goes.  

In his research work, Mike identifies new targets for hormonal – or oestrogen receptor positive – breast cancer. Mike is always the first to take part in fundraising activities for Breakthrough and ran the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012.

The Breakthrough Generations Study

We are also funding a world-leading 40-year study into the causes of breast cancer called the Breakthrough Generations Study, in partnership with The Institute of Cancer Research. The study involves more than 100,000 women across the UK, including nearly 8,000 women from Scotland. Through blood samples and detailed questionnaires, it will investigate the genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that may change the risk of a woman developing breast cancer.

Breakthrough’s work is only made possible by the generosity of the public – all the money we receive is donated. We need to raise £20 million a year and, with commitment and support, we’re confident that we can stop women all over the UK dying from some types of breast cancer within the next ten years. Within 20 years, this could also be true of most kinds of breast cancer.

Breakthrough in Scotland's influence

Breakthrough in Scotland seeks to influence at every level. We are members of the Scottish Cancer Coalition and also sit on various NHS Scotland groups such as the Scottish Breast Screening Review Group. Being part of such groups allows us to influence policy-making around breast cancer including on issues important to women such as early detection, screening, and quality of treatment.

Stay informed about Breakthrough’s work in Scotland

There are many ways to stay in touch with Breakthrough in Scotland and to support our work. You can sign up to our monthly Scottish newsletter, ‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. You can also contact us on 0131 226 0763 or email