Moving on ABC After Breast Cancer

By Anneela Saleem 22 Sep, 2016


Support groups for people going through cancer or after finishing treatment are such an invaluable resource and it would be ideal if this became a routine part of cancer care. Receiving some emotional support to deal with feelings such as fear, anxiety, sadness or despair can be of enormous assistance to both you and your family. I attended a support group at Beechwood Cancer Care Centre each week throughout the course of my treatment.It was a major part of my cancer journey and I am still so grateful that I was able to receive this care. It really helped to keep my spirits up along the way and  also helped me to relax and feel 'normal'.

In a group setting you are able to join other people that have also been through a diagnosis of cancer. This can allow you the opportunity to share your concerns and feelings openly with others who are going through a similar experience. Sharing feelings in this way can provide a release of tension and comfort for each other. Support groups also provide a friendly environment in which to socialise without having to worry about your appearance or feeling that you have to put on a brave front. As well as this you can often gather information and pick up tips from each other about some of the practical ways of dealing with your treatment.

I would certainly encourage people to attend a support group if possible. That's one of the reasons it gives me great pleasure to  be a key member of the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group  . All men and women need support to come through a breast cancer diagnosis. This group was set up since it was apparent that Asian women tend to have poor breast cancer awareness and   l ow rates of uptake for breast screening.  This means that they often present at more advanced stages and therefore are less likely to be curable.  There may be a number of reasons for this including a stigma or taboo of breast cancer and if so these  Asian women are then  less likely to share there experience of breast cancer .

Professor Anil Jain from the Nightingale Breast Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester created the  Asian Breast Cancer Support Group to help tackle some of these issues. By discussing these difficulties  and encouraging Asian women and the wider community to share their experiences we hope to be able to give more women the emotional support they need and deserve. The group hosts two Educational Meetings a year and a Cross- Cultural Communication Skills Training event each year. As well as this I facilitate a Patient to Patient Support meeting  which takes place every 6-8 weeks at the Nightingale centre Wythenshawe. If you would like to attend the patient support group or an education meeting then please get in touch  via email to find out more ;   


THE NEXT MEETING IS AS FOLLOWS AND IS FREE OF CHARGE .I will be there, doing some book signing ! For any books sold at the Nightingale centre, (either at the event or in the Prevent Breast Cancer Shop) then  50% of the profits will be donated to the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group.  

Asian Breast Cancer Support Group Meeting

Tuesday 11th October 2016, The Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre

  Draft Programme:

1.00 pm     Tea, coffee and light refreshments, meet/greet and networking

1.45 pm    Welcome and Introduction

1.55 pm    Are Asian women more prone to less favourable breast cancer subtypes?: Joseph Wan, Anil Jain

2.10 pm    Demographic analysis of the Asian Breast Cancer Database: Jaanika Molderson, Anil Jain

2.20 pm    The Changing Risk Factor Profile of Asian women with breast cancer. Timothy Thomas, Anil Jain

2.35 pm    Systematic Review of Asian Breast Cancer: Dr Steve Brown, Pooja Saini, Rachel Anderson de Cuevas on behalf of the South Asian Women’s access to cancer screening group(CLAHRC)

2.50 pm    Personal story and writing Moving on After Breast Cancer: Dr Anneela Saleem

3.10 pm     Patient to Patient Support Initiative (PePSI): Our experience so far: Dr   Anneela Saleem and Shaheeda Shaikh

3.35 pm     Patients/Carers Presentation/ Update from other Regions in the UK

4.00 pm    Psychological burden on Asian breast cancer patients- a proposed study: Dr Nusrat Husain, Reader in Psychiatry, University of Manchester

4.30 pm    Update from the PROCAS Trial: Breast Cancer Risk Prediction in Asian women: Prof Gareth Evans, Department of Genomic Medicine, St Mary’s Hospital, CMFT

5.00 pm    Feedback and Evaluation; Vote of Thanks: Anil Jain

Eligible for 3 Category 1 RCR CPD Credits

RSVP (ASAP for catering purposes): Saima Rashid, Administrative Assistant ABC Support Group

01612914400 / Email:;

The Nightingale Centre ,Southmoor Road, Wythenshawe  Manchester M23 9LT   

Twitter: Asian Breast Cancer @BME_CANCER


By Anneela Saleem 22 Jun, 2016
Its now been 10 days since I had the privilege and pleasure of taking part in Maggie's on the Runway (Sat 11th June). I took part in the fashion show  as one of 50 cancer survivors.    OMG it was just fab to say the least ! It was a spectacular event and I can honestly say I have made so many wonderful new friends and met so many inspiring people. We are all very much still in touch and are already planning a reunion.  There is nothing like sharing your journey with other survivors, any barriers are put down and you can just get on with it. I am sure I can vouch for all the others and say we had an unforgettable time.  We also had the pleasure to meet Rick Astley, took us all back a few years but who can help dancing and singing to ' Never Gonna Give You Up' . Its been  29 years, yes 29, but we all still knew the words  and rocked it backstage in the model's marquee. I am absolutely chuffed that his album has got to number 1, he  made everyone's day and totally deserves it. 

For those of you wondering what Maggie's is have a quick look on-line. Maggie's Centres are dotted around the UK and are  there to help cancer survivors and their families get through a cancer diagnosis in homely  and friendly surroundings. These and other support centres are growing in numbers because  survivors really benefit from them , its really important to look at the whole person and  places like Maggie's and Beechwood are excellent at doing so.  If you think this would benefit you or someone you know then see if there is one near you by looking on uk

Since my last blog I have now seen  the final draft of my book . Its amazing to see it come to life. Its bright, colourful and beautifully set out and I am so happy with it. I always wanted it to look positive, easy to read and be empowering. I really do feel that my design team and I have managed to achieve that.  Next step is a real life copy -hopefully I should have that by early next week and then if all is looking good it should become available o n-line to pre-order.  The pre-order date is currently for July 7th. Have been super busy so will hopefully get a little bit of time to practice what I preach now. Need to make some time for myself now; had a massage yesterday so not a bad start. I am so knotted - so will be booking myself in for another one very soon. Have been overdoing so need to slow down. Meanwhile have also been reading up on some exciting and evolving research about a drug that may open up a whole new approach to preventing breast cancer in BRAC1 patients . Probably will take some years yet before the researchers will have a conclusion but looks promising. Will post about that very soon. 

Bye for now xx

By Anneela Saleem 29 May, 2016
I cannot believe that I have finally sent my Word document away to be formatted and actually made into a book. My book journey has taken  me over two years, so to finally see it come together is amazing. Strange though, as with many things that eventually come to an end, it can be difficult to let it go. It has certainly kept me occupied and my mind busy, but I also know it has helped me to accept my diagnosis and embrace life positively. Wouldn't say it's an anti-climax but more about having to  let go of something that I have slowly given birth to whilst also recovering, having my second mastectomy and dealing with bereavement.  My book journey has been part of my recovery for both my family and I, I think the kids are certainly happy that it is finally done. Needless to say I have bribed them along the way whilst I have been locked away in the office so they are now most certainly going to be demanding all that is up for grabs! Hopefully I will  have it completed next week, then off to print-on-demand set-up which is another 2-3 weeks. 

I have also had lots of opportunities to give back something and, in the last few weeks, have been involved with several other projects . I have been involved in the Asian Breast Cancer Support Group at the Nightingale Centre UHSM, Manchester, for the past two years. The group are really trying to increase awareness in the black and ethnic minorities and areas of social deprivation. Often these women present with late stage breast cancer; this is due to poor awareness and low uptake for breast screening amongst other things. I have also recently become a member of the Greater Manchester Cancer Vanguard as a GP ( and patient) representative on the Breast Cancer Pathway Board. Our main objectives are to improve survival outcomes and patients' experiences. The areas I would like to see improved are awareness, improved screening uptake and earlier diagnosis, proper data collection (especially for women that are presenting with secondary breast cancer), and better communication of information with GPs. Data collection for secondary breast cancer is something that the charity  are also focusing on. 

On a lighter note, I am also taking part in . We ( 50 models that have all been affected by cancer ) have had rehearsals the last few Saturdays at the new beautifully designed Maggie's Centre in Manchester. It's a fantastic place to unwind and relax. If you have an appointment at Christie's, pop in and have a look - it's just opposite (  ). My hubby David has also been doing his bit too for , he did the Great Manchester run last Sunday ( May 22nd) in an amazing 48 mins and 15 secs.  Unfortunately, he's beating himself up about the time, slower than last year! The kids reassured him though, told him that after all he is getting older, for some reason I don't think that really helped.  

Only two weeks for the show, can't wait. xx  

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