Compression garments for South Australians with lymphoedema

 BCNA welcomed the announcement in July this year of the new South Australian Compression Garment Scheme.

The lack of a state compression garment scheme in SA was highlighted by BCNA in our 2018 State of the Nation report, and this announcement followed lobbying by many organisations and individuals who used their personal experiences of lymphoedema to advocate for change.

BCNA Consumer Representative Elizabeth Anttila who has been involved in the South Australian Lymphoedema Garment Subsidy Scheme Advisory Group since 2019, described a feeling of great satisfaction upon hearing the news.

‘Even though the wait has been long, the scheme is one of the best in Australia. There are no exclusions and there is no cost. I fought particularly hard for there to be no exclusions so that people whose private health fund does not provide a rebate for compression garments would be eligible’, Elizabeth said.

You can find out more about lymphoedema via the BCNA factsheet.


Updates to guidance for management of early breast cancer

 Cancer Australia has released updates to its Guidance for the management of early breast cancer, a document aiming to provide health professionals with up-to-date evidence-based guidance for the management of patients with early breast cancer.

The guidance aims to support the delivery of best practice patient-centred care and will assist health professionals and patients alike in shared decision making around the management of early breast cancer.

The scope covers management of early breast cancer across the patient journey – from breast cancer diagnosis, through treatment planning and information and support for patients prior to treatment, treatment delivery, to follow-up of after active treatment and survivorship care for people living with and beyond early breast cancer.

BCNA Consumer Representative Leanne Carlson contributed to the development of the Guidance through her position on the steering group; offering expert input, advice, insights and feedback. BCNA also provided feedback on the draft guidance during the consultation period.

To read more about the new guidance, visit Cancer Australia’s website.


Cancer organisations’ urgent plea for support to help families care for dying loved ones

BCNA and Canteen have joined forces to push for more support for Victorians who are facing end-of-life care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with healthcare service visitor restrictions and reduced community support services placing additional strain on families.

The leading consumer cancer organisations say there is evidence of growing distress by more Victorian families being forced to care for dying relatives at home due to fear of restrictive visitor policies and concern that COVID-19 screening requirements for palliative care patients could mean that loved ones may die alone in hospital.

BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti says, ‘We know of families at breaking point because they are choosing to tough it out at home juggling work and home schooling while caring for dying relatives because they would rather spend their last hours with their loved ones than risk them dying alone in the healthcare system due to COVID-19 restrictions.’

We are calling for healthcare services to overturn bans on young people visiting family members who are unwell, increase compassion to families going through already difficult situations, and increased funding to ensure people can access timely and adequate palliative care community services to enable them to safely care for loved ones at home.

Read our full media release here.



In our October 2019, Issue 85 edition of The Beacon, we published an article on aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen (page 14).

In this article, we stated that loss of bone density is a side effect of both aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen.

In fact, the loss of bone density is a side effect of aromatase inhibitors but not of tamoxifen for postmenopausal women. It can, however be a side effect in premenopausal women.

We apologise for any confusion this error may have caused.

Issue 87
Spring 2020