Letter from the CEO

Welcome to the first edition of The Beacon for 2022. I hope you had a wonderful summer surrounded by loved ones and have eased into the new year.

We were delighted to hear of the wonderful news of our former CEO Maxine Morand AM, who was honoured this Australia Day with a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to the Parliament of Victoria and to community health. Additionally, we would like to congratulate Professor Jane Turner AM and Professor Prue Francis AM on their Australia Day Honours. They have both made significant contributions to breast cancer research, treatment and support. Thank you to each of these women for their ongoing contribution to BCNA and support to all Australians affected by breast cancer.

I would also like to congratulate Monique Bareham, who has been named South Australia’s 2022 Local Hero. Monique was left with lymphoedema after a cancer diagnosis and successfully lobbied to have compression garments subsidised in South Australia for people with the debilitating condition. Monique continues to be focused on ensuring all Australians have access to good care for lymphoedema services and reducing the stigma for all those living with lymphoedema.

As a new year is upon us, we understand that COVID-19 is still causing ongoing anxiety about how your treatment may be impacted if you get COVID, and how you will cope with COVID if you do get it.

We also acknowledge that, in some parts of Australia, health services have been affected including delays to non-urgent elective surgeries such as breast reconstruction surgery. We know from the calls to our Helpline that this is causing stress and uncertainty and is adding to the long waiting times in public hospitals. We have addressed this issue in the COVID-19 Information article in My Journey. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to tune into Dr Charlotte Tottman’s 10-part podcast series What You Don’t Know Until You Do, where she discusses a range of topics that may help you on various stages of your journey.

BCNA has continued to work closely with COVID working groups, Cancer Australia and other stakeholders to ensure our voice is heard. We will continue to keep our COVID information and vaccination articles in My Journey regularly updated to ensure you always have the most up-to-date information to make informed decisions about your treatment and care. We’ve added a What’s New section to the top of the COVID-19 Information article to make it a bit easier for you to find the latest updates.

If you ever need further information or clarification, please call our Helpline on 1800 500 258 or email contact@nullbcna.org.au. You can also join our online network, where you can speak to others going through a similar situation.

In this Beacon you’ll find a variety of stories including an Ask the Expert about lymphoedema, how a young mother of two rebuilt her identity after breast cancer, our new content for our First Peoples and LGBTIQ+ communities, what’s happening in our policy and advocacy space, and much more!

As we have discovered, a new year brings new and ongoing challenges, but also gives BCNA the opportunity to continue to lead, advocate, bring awareness and support all Australians affected by breast cancer. We know that we are stronger together and staying connected as a community will be essential to help all those affected by breast cancer.

Kirsten Pilatti

Chief Executive Officer

Issue 90
Autumn 2022