A FAMILY devastated by breast cancer has welcomed ‘fabulous’ new statistics showing half of sufferers now survive at least 10 years.

Cancer Research UK said research has brought massive improvements in survival rates since the 1970s, when only one in four survived for a decade.

Sisters Maxine Betts, Eileen Eve and Maureen Dixon know just how crucial research into breast cancer is, as their family is affected by the BRCA2 gene, putting them at higher risk.

Their mum Marlene Hartley and sister Jackie Robinson have died of the disease, while Eileen, 48, has been successfully treated. Meanwhile, Maxine has had her breasts and ovaries removed as a preventative measure.

Maxine, 45, who lives in Barrowford and works at Asda in Colne, said: “These figures are fabulous in terms of so many more people surviving cancer.

“As a family we know only too well just how cruel cancer is and how devastating it is to lose loved ones to the disease.”

Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK’s spokesman for the North West urged people to sign up for one of the charity’s Race for Life events this summer, when Maxine will be cheering on Eileen, who is a van driver for BBC Superfactors in Blackburn, at Towneley Park in Burnley on June 15.

The Blackburn event is at Witton Park on June 25.

For more information on Race for Life visit www.raceforlife.org, or call 0845 600 6050.