In a first for a UK charity, Breast Cancer Care has launched a free eBook edition of one of its key award-winning support publications, Mummy’s Lump, narrated by actress Zoë Wanamaker.
The eBook is the first in a range of seven evidence-based information and support eBooks to be offered by the charity in addition to over 120 printed publications already on offer.
Mummy’s Lump is a picture book which helps parents with children under seven explain what is happening when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was developed with Gillian Forrest, consultant child psychiatrist and senior research fellow at Oxford University, whose research with more than 30 mothers with early breast cancer and their children showed that the youngest children had a much greater awareness of cancer than parents realised.
Gillian, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990 when her children were five and seven, said: “Despite being an experienced child psychiatrist, when I got my own breast cancer diagnosis I was anxious and unsure about what to tell my children.
“All the support I got focused on my own health - there was little available to help deal with my children’s needs. In the end I told them that I had a bad lump that had to be taken out.
“The clear message from my research was that no matter how much children had been told, they knew something ‘bad’ was going on. They’re exposed to lots of information about breast cancer in ways we don’t really appreciate, but the more they are prepared and informed, the more it helps them cope. It can be easier for parents to broach something as sensitive as a cancer diagnosis through a story rather than a conversation so I wrote Mummy’s Lump just like a normal story book. Now, as a narrated eBook there should be even fewer barriers to being open with children about a breast cancer diagnosis.”
Susan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 when her son was six years old, said: “When I was first diagnosed I remember snuggling up with my son in bed one night and reading Mummy’s Lump together. He also flicked through it a few times on his own.
“It was really helpful because the pictures are colourful and the words are easy to read, which was important for me so I didn’t confuse him. It’s brilliant that Mummy’s Lump is now an eBook as it’s open to even more people and with a narrator, if someone finds it too difficult to read it out themselves, they can just listen along with their child.”
Breast Cancer Care’s new portfolio of eBooks, which can be downloaded for free onto any e-reader, also includes factsheets on breast pain, diet and breast cancer, your operation and recovery, menopausal symptoms and breast cancer, radiotherapy for primary (early) breast cancer and living with lymphoedema