My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has supported Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing a pink ribbon, by organising a fundraising event or in any other way. Your support is so important.

This week saw the final day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

As Patron of the research charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and other charities involved with breast cancer, I am delighted that it has been the most successful ever.

I have been greatly impressed by the energy and commitment of individual fundraisers throughout the country, not just over the past month but throughout the whole year.

The Sun's readers have been at the forefront of this effort. Thousands of you have supported the Raise A Ton with the Sun fundraising appeal and helped to raise £650,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, a wonderful achievement.

This money will be significant in helping Breakthrough achieve its vision of a future free from the fear of breast cancer, a disease which sees 38,000 women diagnosed in the UK every year.

Such commitment to fundraising is vitally important. Ten years ago this month, Breakthrough Breast Cancer was launched with an ambitious dream, to establish the UK's first dedicated breast cancer research centre.

That dream has become a reality and I was delighted to open the Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, in 1999.

The establishment of the Breakthrough Research Centre, where more than eighty scientists are now focusing their efforts on trying to discover what causes this devastating disease, would not have been possible without the dedication of fundraisers throughout the country.

The commitment of individuals, such as Cathy Scarrat, an Avon representative from Tyne & Wear who I recently met at a Breakthrough event and who has raised thousands of pounds for Breakthrough, is a great inspiration to us all.

But Breast Cancer Awareness Month is not just about fundraising. Raising awareness and understanding is also crucially important.

Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer, a campaign spearheaded by Avon Cosmetics and Breakthrough, has sought to tackle some of the many myths that surround the disease.

I was particularly pleased to see that the campaign has also focused on the need for more research into the prevention of breast cancer. An integrated approach to combating breast cancer that encompasses research, complementary medicine and the critical area of prevention, is one that I wholeheartedly support.

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who has supported Breast Cancer Awareness Month by wearing a pink ribbon, by organising a fundraising event or in any other way. Your support is so important.

Much has been achieved in the fight against breast cancer but there is still a great deal to do. Survival rates have improved since Breakthrough was launched, but the disease still kills over 1,000 women each month in the UK.

I ask you to keep up your efforts, so that one day we can look back on breast cancer as a disease of the past.