Breast Cancer Network Australia says people living with metastatic breast cancer are not consistently counted on official cancer registries, and this needs to change to ensure everyone affected by breast cancer receives the very best care, treatment and support.
BCNA is Australia’s leading voice for people affected by breast cancer, providing information and support to those diagnosed and their supporters, as well as offering opportunities to connect with others going through a similar situation.
Metastatic breast cancer is when cancer cells have spread from the original cancer site in the breast to more distant parts of the body.
Terms such as advanced breast cancer, secondary breast cancer, secondary cancers, metastases and secondaries are all different ways of describing metastatic breast cancer.
Advances in treatment mean that some people with metastatic breast cancer are now living for many years, but many sufferers are currently falling through the cracks.
BCNA says people who are not counted are not seen, which means they are ‘invisible’ when health service providers and policymakers plan cancer services and support.
The organisation kicked off an advocacy campaign in October last year with an issues paper, ‘Making Metastatic Breast Cancer Count’.
Parliament House event
Now more than 100 people living with metastatic breast cancer have taken this call to be counted to parliament.
Breast Cancer Network Australia and Parliamentary Friends of Women’s Health are holding a panel discussion this week – ‘Making Metastatic Breast Cancer Count’ in the main committee room at Parliament House in Canberra.
The event should be available to view later on the BCNA website.
Peta Murphy MP, who is living with metastatic breast cancer, and Bridget Archer MP are co-hosting the panel.
BCNA Director of Policy, Advocacy and Support Services Vicki Durston and BCNA Consumer Representative Lisa Tobin, from Perth (who has been living with breast cancer for 23 years and metastatic breast cancer for the past 11 years) are also on the panel.