Letter from the CEO

Welcome to the October edition of The Beacon. As is well known, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While for some people this is a time to celebrate, for many people affected by breast cancer and their families, it can
be a difficult month. Some people don’t like the constant reminder of breast cancer, and people living with metastatic disease often tell us they feel their experiences are overlooked.

During October, BCNA will be using our social media platforms (Facebook and Instagram) to provide you with information to help you better manage your health and wellbeing. We will also be acknowledging Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Sunday 13 October, and raising awareness about male breast cancer on Sunday 20 October. You can read more about these activities on page 5.

In my mind, the most important thing you can do to help yourself is to focus on the things in your life that you can control, and to get help when you need it. Our Helpline staff can help to connect you to services in your local area – you can call them on 1800 500 258 during business hours.

As the national organisation supporting people affected by breast cancer, BCNA has set itself two key roles – to provide our free programs and services, and our advocacy work on behalf of all Australians affected by breast
cancer. I hope that you have had a chance to look at our new My Journey online tool, which provides tailored, up-to-date information on all aspects of breast cancer treatment and care, including beyond treatment and into
survivorship. You can sign up to the tool at myjourney.org.au.

Our advocacy work is driven by the priorities identified in our 2018 State of the Nation report, and the most important one for us currently is reducing out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer treatment and reducing the associated ‘bill shock’ – when you receive an unexpected costly bill.

I am very pleased to have been appointed to the Australian Government’s Out-of-Pocket Costs Transparency Working Group. This working group is considering how a national website can be established to provide the public
with information about the out-of-pocket costs of specialist medical services. The aim is to help people to be able to compare the out-of-pocket costs charged by specialists so they can choose one who best meet their needs.

BCNA is playing a leadership role in this space – not just for Australians affected by breast cancer, but for all those affected by cancer. While our priority is our members, we know that large out-of-pocket costs are
an issue across the board. As I sit at the table in these meetings, the stories I heard from many of you as part of my State of the Nation consultations are what drives me to ensure your voices are heard.

I hope you enjoy this edition of The Beacon. Hopefully there is something in it for everyone!

Kirsten Pilatti
Chief Executive Officer

Issue 85
Spring 2019