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Rates of breast cancer in the UK are still rising despite much better prognosis and treatment, with around 40,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed each year.

About a fifth of breast cancers are linked to a gene called HER2. If this gene alters inside normal cells, it can trigger excessive growth causing a particularly aggressive form of cancer.

The new anti-cancer drug Herceptin is said to halve the chances of this type of cancer recurring. It is currently licensed for women with advanced breast cancer but has not yet been approved for women in the early stages. Herceptin has been linked to heart problems and costs around £20,000 for a year's treatment.

Breast Cancer 1

This panel represents the ravages of breast cancer on normal cells. Layers of lime, green and pink, silk, cotton and scrim are built up and then torn and frayed back to reveal the underlying fabric. The dark nucleus of the cell is stitched in French and Colonial knots.

Design by Denise Greyburn

Made by Chalgrove and Otmoor WI's.

Breast Cancer 2

This panel shows a single breast cancer cell as it looks under a scanning electron microscope. The background has been silk painted pink as this is the colour associated with the disease and and has a layer of silk organza placed over the top, the outline has been couched with pink threads and cut back in places to reveal the background. The immune cell, shown in dark red is padded and heavily embroidered to add dimension.

Design by Michele Tootell

Made by Weston on the Green WI, Begbroke and Stanton St John WI's

Cancer Chromosome

DNA is a very long continuous strand, which has to be packaged so that it fits into the nucleus of a cell. This packaged DNA is called a chromosome.

This panel uses knitting to illustrate this process. A long continuous strand of wool is 'packaged' by knitting to form a more compact shape. The variety of colours and textures representing the chemical components of the DNA.

Design based on photo courtesy of Wellcome Trust

Made by Chalgrove WI, Waterstock and Tiddington WI, Benson WI and Cuddesdon and Denton WI.

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