the last Beacon, we shared with you the findings from our State of the Nation report, which looked at how far BCNA has come in two decades of consumer activism.
The report not only highlighted our successes, but also shone a spotlight on the unacceptable gaps in treatment and care that still exist.
One of the worrying gaps is the shortage of breast care nurses, with almost one in five people having inadequate access to a breast cancer nurse, including some having no access at all. Of significance was how many of you with metastatic breast cancer have never seen a breast care nurse.
This was listed in the report as a priority for urgent action and we called on the country’s decision makers to address the unmet need.
In January this year, I was thrilled to be at the Pink Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) when it was announced that the voices of BCNA members had been heard and the Federal Government had listened.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced an extra $27 million in funding for the McGrath Foundation to train an additional 41 breast care nurses over the next four years – an outstanding result.
It was fantastic to hear that the new funding will train more than 30 specialist nurses dedicated to supporting people with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones. It is a wonderful first step in improving the support for those living with metastatic breast cancer. It is also an acknowledgment that metastatic disease is a chronic and complex condition, which presents different issues to early breast cancer.
BCNA worked closely with the McGrath Foundation to advocate for an increased investment by the Federal Government and I am so proud of the result we have been able to achieve together.
However, our work with politicians is certainly not done!
Over the past 20 years, governments have invested in the treatment and care of Australians with breast cancer. In the lead-up the federal election this year, BCNA has identified what we believe are priority areas for breast cancer. Turn to page 9 to read about the issues we will be raising with the political parties, including faster access to new and innovative breast cancer treatments and diagnostic tests, reducing the financial burden of a breast cancer diagnosis, and better management of lymphoedema.
We also recently launched our My Journey online tool after many months of testing and are already receiving positive feedback from our members and other users. Turn to page 6 to read more about the launch and how the online tool may be useful to you.
Chief Executive Officer