Watch our short video to learn about how our research helps women with breast cancer thrive!
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Welcome to 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 6 ambassadors: Jan Snape, Dr Caroline Humber, Bal Nanray, Nerys Deutsch, Kate Gowans and Laura Ashurst. We are all women with a diagnosis of primary or secondary breast cancer.
BRiC 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 adapt to 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 cognitive and emotional health.
The Benefits of Our Research
BRiC leads the research on identifying and practicing pathways to resilience in women with either a primary or secondary breast cancer diagnosis. We have shown that
1. Our cognitive health has an important role to play in our emotional health (see here)
2. Neurocognitive efficiency is impaired in women with breast cancer necessitating the need for compensatory effort contributing to cognitive deficits commonly reported (see here)
3. 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)
4. Mindfulness meditation practice and adaptive working memory training can reduce anxiety sustainably in women with breast cancer (see here)
5. The combined effect of both good cognitive function and social support can protect against depression in secondary breast cancer (see here)
7. Women with breast cancer experiencing threats to job security due to COVID have an increased level of depression by 26% (see here)
8. Delays in accessing breast cancer treatment in Iranian women has increased risk of clinical levels of emotional disorder with younger women at greater risk (see here)
With around 1930 members, we are open to any woman with a diagnosis of breast cancer in the UK. We provide a secure platform to engage in interactive and guided discussions to promote resilience. We publish summaries of our weekly group discussions (see knowledge transfer tab in menu). If you want to join us click here.
Our Blog, Panning for Gold:
We launched our award winning blog (top 10 breast cancer blogs 2020, as rated by @healthline), ‘Panning for Gold’ on World Cancer Awareness Day, 4th February 2016. It has had over 98K readers so far. It is a platform for BRiC's Collective Voice as well as being open to any woman living in the UK who wants to share their story on breast cancer.