WITH one in eight women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, the Bosom Friends support group wants to reach out to all women, whether they have the disease or not.

Bosom Friends was set up in 1991 for women who were experiencing, or had experienced breast cancer.

Monthly meetings take place in members’ homes and as well as the chance to share concerns, women are offered help, information and direction to professional agencies.

Earlier this month the group received a cheque for £340 from Waitrose in Thame, as part of its Community Matters initiative.

Bosom Friends co-ordinator, Janet Backhouse, said: “This money will go into the day-to-day running of the group and will also help us raise awareness of our vital role in the county.

“Shockingly, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, but Bosom Friends has become a place for women to share support and we want it to become something all women know about, not just something they may hear of if they are diagnosed.”

Mother-of-one Mrs Backhouse, 67, who lives near Thame, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002.

She said: “I underwent a double bilateral mastectomy but was lucky to have had a close friend who had been through it. “She told me about Bosom Friends and while I never saw myself as a ‘support-group-type person’ I went along and realised these women could help.

“When you have breast cancer and undergo successful treatment, to your friends and family it can often mean it ‘goes away’. “But for the sufferer it is often a very emotional journey and they may never really believe it has gone, so it is important to be around women who understand that.”

There are about 12-18 regular members at the group’s monthly meetings. Some are being treated and some still come after beating breast cancer many years ago.

Sandra Lawson, 56, from Bicester was diagnosed with an aggressive grade three breast tumour last March, and after having chemo-therapy is now taking the breast cancer drug Herceptin.

The mother-of-two said: “Being part of the group cheers you up and makes you feel you are not alone. We would love to hear from other women who could do with some Bosom Friends.”

  • Bosom Friends meets on first Mondays of the month (except Bank Holidays). Visit: http://bosomfriends.org.uk or call Janet Backhouse on: 01844 290362.