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Birkbeck Integrative Centre for Building Resilience in Breast Cancer ( BRiC )

Welcome to Birkbeck's Centre for Building Resilience in Breast Cancer (BRiC). BRiC was founded by Naz Derakshan, who is a Professor of Experimental Psychopathology specialising in the cognitive neuroscience of anxiety and depression in the department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck University of London, UK. BRiC has one deputy head: Ms Anita Traynor, and 7 ambassadors: Jan Snape, Dr Caroline Humber, Fiona Gibson, Bal Nanray, Andria Fruin, Laura Ashurst, and Dr Bex Lewis. We are all women with a diagnosis of primary or secondary breast cancer.                                                                                                                                                                          

BRiC's Aims

BRiC's research aims to reduce anxiety and depressive vulnerability in women with a breast cancer diagnosis and improve quality of life using evidence-based translational neuroscience research.  It's main aim is to build resilience. 

Resilience is the practice of adaptation, flexibility, and adjustment. When confronted with a life-threatening disease such as breast cancer, options become limited, priorities change, and we struggle to find our new 'normal'. Practicing resilience can help us endure the emotional roller coasters, and manage our emotions more efficiently. Resilience builds on neuroplasticity: the brain's ability to form new neural connections towards better mental and physical health. 

What has our research shown?

BRiC's research has shown that

1. Our cognitive health has an important role to play in our emotional health (see here)

2. That simple cognitive exercises targeting cognitive efficiency can improve cognitive skills and reduce anxiety and depressive related symptoms longer term (see here; and on media page) 

3. Collateral damage from COVID19 delaying breast cancer treatment and diagnosis has increased psychological trauma in women with breast cancer (see here; and in The Telegraph)

4. Women with threats to job security have an increased level of depression by 26% (see here)

 

Our Educational Support Network:

Our psycho-educational support network with over 1850 members, is open to any woman with a diagnosis of breast cancer in the UK. We provide a confidential and secure platform for members to engage in interactive and guided discussions to promote resilience in the face of trauma.  We publish summaries of our weekly group discussions (see knowledge transfer tab in menu), research and news features. We have just under 5k followers already! If you want to join us click here.

 

Our Blog, Panning for Gold

We launched our award winning blog (as rated by @healthline), ‘Panning for Gold’ on World Cancer Awareness Day, 4th February 2016. It has had over 88K readers so far. It is open to any woman living in the UK who wants to share their story on breast cancer.