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  1. ITV Report

BBC News's Rachael Bland has died after being diagnosed with incurable cancer

Photo: BBC Radio 5 Live

BBC news presenter Rachael Bland has died after being diagnosed with incurable cancer, her family has announced.

It come days after the 40-year-old BBC Radio 5 Live news reader revealed on social media that she had only days to live.

A post on Bland's official Twitter account said:

Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family.

We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You'll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie xxx.

– Rachael Bland's official Twitter account

Here are some questions answered about the disease by Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at the charity Breast Cancer Now:

  • What does having 'secondary' breast cancer mean?

Secondary breast cancer - also known as 'metastatic' breast cancer - means that the disease has spread to another part of the body.

While secondary breast cancer can sometimes be controlled for some time using different combinations of treatments, it cannot be cured - and almost all of the 11,500 women that die as a result of breast cancer each year in the UK will have seen their cancer spread.

– Baroness Delyth Morgan
  • What is primary triple negative breast cancer?

Triple negative is a form of breast cancer that lacks the three molecules that drive the other sub-types of the disease: the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

Triple negative breast cancers therefore cannot be treated with drugs used to target these receptors in other forms of the disease, with triple negative patients being limited primarily to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Around 15% of all breast cancers are triple negative, with around 7,500 women in the UK being diagnosed each year.

More common among younger women, and also among black women, triple negative breast cancers can be highly aggressive.

They are more likely to spread to another part of the body where they become incurable, and unfortunately still have no targeted therapies.

While cornerstone treatments, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be extremely gruelling for patients, so we desperately need to find new, kinder options for those diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer.

– Baroness Delyth Morgan
  • Why are some chances of survival worse among some breast cancers compared to others?

There are many different forms of breast cancer, depending on their genetic make-up and the type of cancer cell.

"The outlook for someone's cancer can depend on a number of factors including the size of the tumour, how early the disease was diagnosed, how aggressive the tumour is and whether it has already spread, and whether it is a less treatable form with fewer options available to patients.

– Baroness Delyth Morgan

Some facts and figures about the disease from Cancer Research UK:

  • - Breast cancer was the most common female cancer diagnosed in 2015 across the UK, with around 54,800 new cases.
  • - In 2015, the disease accounted for more than 15% of all new cancer cases in Britain.
  • - Over the last decade, breast cancer incidence rates have increased by around 4% in the UK.
  • - More than one in 10 breast cancer cases are diagnosed late in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • - One in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
  • - Across the UK there are an average of 11,400 breast cancer deaths every year - the equivalent of 31 cases a day.
  • - But almost two-thirds of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for 20 years or more.