Audrey Birt, who has been director of Breakthrough Breast Cancer north of the Border for five years, said the number of women diagnosed with the disease is up by almost 500 since she started the job.
Ms Birt, diagnosed with breast cancer twice, hit out at the image of the disease as "pink and fluffy".
She also responded to those who imply breast cancer has held the limelight for too long and want the focus to be placed on other conditions.
Ms Birt said: "There are those who say it is time for other conditions to get attention. I never like to play the who is more important game, because it is all important. But people should not think that breast cancer is fixed and therefore we can move on."
Ms Birt, who once wrote a blog entry entitled "Just don't ask me to wear pink," is also concerned this colour association may give some people the wrong idea.
She said: "There's a little bit of me that rebels against breast cancer being seen as pink and fluffy. Some people think of it being one of the sexy cancers. That is so out of order with people's experience. It is not pink and fluffy. That is not me.
"Any movement around breast cancer is potentially important, but let's not pretend it is easy for people."