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

Welcome to Birkbeck's new Research 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 two deputy heads: Tamsin Sargeant and Vicky Wilkes, and four ambassadors: Anita Traynor, Jenny Richards, Jan Snape and Dr Caroline Humber. We are all women with a diagnosis of primary or secondary breast cancer.                                                                                                                                                                          

Our Research Aims

Targeting Emotional and Cognitive Vulnerability in Breast Cancer:

Research shows that the traumatic impact of diagnosis and harsh treatments including the classic chemo brain reduces cognitive efficiency with increasing rates in anxiety and depression impairing quality of life. Fear of recurrence in women with a diagnosis of primary breast cancer and progression of disease in women with secondary breast cancer can constitute a major threat to every day well-being.

Paving Pathways of Resilience in Breast Cancer: 

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 the uncertainty we face. Resilience builds on neuroplasticity: the brain's ability to form new neural connections towards better mental and physical health. 

What has our Research shown?:

Our recent publication in the top journal Psycho-oncology, which received widespread media coverage: "Training cognitive control to reduce emotional vulnerability in breast cancer", shows that we can target anxiety and depressive vulnerability through boosting cognitive efficiency. Here’s a preview.

Our Support Group:

Our psycho-educational support group with around 1,400 UK 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 with the aim of promoring resilience, adaptability and courage.  We publish summaries of our weekly group discussions (see knowledge transfer tab in menu), research and news features and our occasional and very well-received HuffPostUK blogs. We have over 3,950 followers already! If you want to join us click here.

Our Blog, Panning for Gold

We launched our winning award blog, ‘Panning for Gold’ on World Cancer Awareness Day, 4th February 2016. It has had over 70,000 visitors so far. It is open to any woman living in the UK who wants to share their story on how we cope through the highs and lows, the joys and the sadness, celebrating small steps of resilience.