Today marks Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day, a disease that affects 35,000 people in the UK.

A secondary breast cancer charity is calling for more education around the incurable disease after new data from a YouGov poll showed two-fifths of the British population are ignorant to the forgotten form of the disease.

Charity, Make 2nds Count is leading a campaign to highlight secondary breast cancer, a disease that currently kills 1,000 women a month in the UK and is calling for a year-round initiative to help prevent lives from being destroyed.

Secondary breast cancer – also known as metastatic, advanced or stage IV breast cancer – is a cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body.

On average there are around 35,000 patients in the UK currently living with this form of cancer.

But a YouGov poll, commissioned by the charity to coincide with Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day, revealed just how uninformed the public is.

The results showed that 38% of the British population are unaware of secondary breast cancer while 21% are aware yet know nothing of the diseases common signs and symptoms.

More than 40% of respondents said they didn’t know the incidence of this form of the disease while 22% are under the impression that it is rare.

44% of those polled think that young women aged 15-39 have the best chance of survival and a third said they have no idea who lives longer after diagnosis.

Common symptoms can initially be attributed to other health conditions, such as arthritis, and a quarter of people surveyed believe that more than 25% of patients with a history of primary breast cancer have initially been treated for another condition before their secondary breast cancer diagnosis.

Emma Hall, Head of Fundraising and Engagement, Make 2nds Count, said: “So much media coverage has focused on checking for primary breast cancer but not for secondary.

“So, people are not being informed about the different signs and symptoms to look for.

“We need more education, support and research, and understanding that with secondary breast cancer you won't be cured, you can only be treated.”