The Beacon December FY22


W elcome to the December edition of The Beacon where we focus on stories and information to help you take charge of your breast cancer experience. In this edition, we hear from one of our members, Kath, whose breast cancer diagnosis inspired her to change aspects of her lifestyle, which she continues beyond treatment. We speak with Associate Professor Yoland Antill about genetics and testing for hereditary breast cancer, and Occupational Therapist Jo Lewis about how you can take charge of returning to work, including talking about your experience, making a plan and what you can do if you return to work and don’t cope. This year saw so many highlights including: connecting with our members in rural and regional towns around Australia at our Information Forums; updates to My Journey such as new resources for LGBTIQ+ communities and video content for our First Peoples; key policy wins including Trodelvy (sacituzumab govtecan) listed on the PBS for people with locally advanced or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer; the return of the Pink Lady Match at the MCG, and another incredible Pink Bun campaign with thanks to Bakers Delight. October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we shone a light on optimal care and what it means for you. Thank you to our members who shared their experiences to help others be informed to make decisions and access the best care possible. If you would like more information about optimal care, please call BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258. We were thrilled to have a strong presence at the Australasian International Breast Congress (AIBC) in Brisbane in October. On Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day (13 October), we hosted a health professional breakfast where we launched our Issues paper: Making metastatic breast cancer count . It was so lovely to have Dame Quentin Bryce and former BCNA Board Chair Marg O’Donnell in attendance, as well as a full house of health professionals from around the country. During the Congress, we had several Consumer Representatives and staff members present on topics including breast reconstruction, supporting LGBTIQ+ communities and what matters most to consumers. I really encourage you to read more about the metastatic breast cancer issues paper, the health professional breakfast and some of the other fantastic AIBC activities on pages 14 and 15. We have come so far in breast cancer, but I cannot believe that after 20 years of advocacy we are still asking for Australians living with treatable but incurable breast cancer to be counted.

At the Australasian International Breast Congress (AIBC) in October

Looking ahead to next year, we will be celebrating 25 years of Breast Cancer Network Australia. We are so excited that our Field of Women event will return in August in Melbourne, complemented by a full weekend of events that we would love you to be involved in. For more information see page 19. Next year also sees us back on the road with more Information Forums in regional areas around the country, so keep an eye on our website, your emails and our social media platforms to see whether we are coming to your area. The holiday season isn’t always an easy time so please make sure you take some time to refill your bucket and do things that make you happy, whatever that may be. If you would like to connect over the holiday season, our online network will be available day and night. The online network provides a space to talk, ask questions and hear experiences from others diagnosed across Australia. Our Helpline will be closed from 23 December to 3 January. Should you need support while our team is away, please call Cancer Council on 13 11 20. Please be aware that they are working on reduced hours during this time. Thank you for your ongoing support over 2022 and I look forward to seeing what the new year brings.

Kirsten Pilatti Chief Executive Officer

Issue 93 | December 2022


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