Confusion over Yarmouth group name clash

A SUPPORT group which helps women with breast cancer has moved to end confusion over another group working at the opposite end of the spectrum - but with the same name.

Breast Friends has been active across Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft for 12 years bringing hope, comfort and friendship to women battling serious illness.

But a new group which offers encouragement and support to breastfeeding mothers has also called itself Breast Friends, leading to worries about confusion and possible distress.

Angela Wheeler, secretary of the cancer support group, said some members had been “peeved” their name had been taken up by a group helping a totally different set of women who could be upset if they contacted the wrong one by mistake.

But Margaret Holtz of East Coast Community Health Care CIC said there was a degree of cross-over and that the two could work together promoting the link between breast feeding and reducing the cancer risk which was due to be the focus of a national campaign.

Mrs Wheeler said: “The new group promotes breast feeding among young mothers which I completely support, I just did not want people ringing us up and finding it’s not the group they thought it was.”

She added: “It is probably not very likely that there would be a mix-up but some of the ladies in our group might have been upset if they had contacted the wrong one.

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“It’s unfortunate because the groups are working at totally different ends although breast feeding helps fend off cancer, which is why breast cancer rates are so low in developing countries.”

Breast Friends has around 35 members, mostly aged in their 50’s and who meet once a month to share their experiences.

Mrs Wheeler, a mother of three grown up children, works at the breast screening unit at Gorleston’s James Paget University Hospital and has twice battled the disease after routine scans revealed a problem.

Radiotherapy pointed to a full recovery but the disease came back and she opted for a double mastectomy and reconstruction.

Her experiences of working at the hospital and recovering from the disease herself enables her to “see it from both sides” and “help people on a different level,” she said.

Overall, Mrs Wheeler said she was delighted that both groups existed for the benefit of other people in their different spheres.

Mrs Holtz said it was an unfortunate situation, especially in the same area, but that the breastfeeding group which also offers peer support had gone too far in establishing itself under the Breast Friends name to turn back.

She added they had researched the name beforehand and had not found a match.

The breast cancer support group can be contacted via Mrs Wheeler on 01502 733568.

The breastfeeding support group is on 01493 852209. Both have Facebook pages.