'I wish I had breast cancer'

Published Wednesday, 12 February 2014
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A pancreatic cancer charity sparked outrage last week after its new advertising campaign featured the tagline: 'I wish I had breast cancer'.

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They were the words of cancer sufferer Kerry Harvey, who tells This Morning she stands by what she said, despite receiving death threats online.

Kerry has been raising awareness of the notoriously difficult to diagnose disease and said her comment was her own words and she has no regrets over what she said.

She explained: "When I first got diagnosed, we were given the prognosis from my doctor and told that only three per cent of people make it past five years.

"I know through friends and family who have had breast cancer that the survival rate from that, as long as it's not inflammatory breast cancer or secondary, which is a lot worse, is 85 per cent.

"So if I was going to have cancer of course I wish I had one with a better survival rate."

But the ad campaign has been met with outraged reactions, particular from breast cancer charities who say Kerry's words belittle the disease.

Northern Ireland presenter Gloria Hunniford, whose daughter Caron Keating died of breast cancer in 2004, has also condemned the campaign.

Kerry said: "It's sad to read reactions like that because I know people with breast cancer and I know it's not easy for anyone to deal with, no cancer is, and I've never implied that breast cancer sufferers have it easier than anyone else.

"All I'm saying is they have a better chance of survival in general than I would."

Since the ad became public Kerry has also had to deal with negative comments and death threats on social media sites, with people telling her they hope she's not in the three per cent that survives the disease.

But despite the reaction, Kerry said she stands by her words.

"I think because they're my words, I wouldn't have wanted them changed," she said.

"They were my words. It's what I said so I don't think it would have been appropriate to change it to be honest.

"If they can't read past the headline and read the message underneath, that does state the statistics and things, then I'm sorry for any upset it's caused but that wasn't my intention."

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