Breast cancer research has come forward in leaps and bounds with survival rates in Australia well above that of other countries, however, new research has indicated there are still far too many gaps in the health system making the dreaded cancer journey that much harder.
This year alone an estimated 18,235 Australians will be diagnosed with the insidious disease and sadly despite public awareness, effective treatment and diagnosis, still 3000 will not survive.
In a report released by the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA), statistics show those in rural areas are suffering significantly with a lack of services available close by, while others are being dismissed by general practitioners as “too young to have breast cancer”.
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On top of this some are waiting more than five years for breast cancer reconstruction surgery and many, shockingly have no access to publicly funded diagnostic mammography in some states and territories.
With findings from the study presented to government at Parliament House on Wednesday night, BCNA Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Pilatti said they are making progress but there is still a long way to go.
“The disparity of care in Australia cannot be ignored. The people in this report are not just statistics. I travelled around the country and listened to thousands of women and men talk about the challenges they face accessing quality and affordable care,” she said.
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can turn someone’s world upside down, whether it be personally or with a loved one going through the battle.
Yet unfortunately, that is only just the beginning as people face challenges on the way, with difficulty accessing testing and gaining medication plus the ever-growing financial burden placed on families.
Passionate about finding a way to solve these problems and make the process easier for patients, Pilatti said they will do everything they can to help.
“It is clear that BCNA’s mission is as relevant now as it was in 1998 when we were founded,” she said.
“We will not stop until everyone, woman or man, diagnosed with breast cancer receives the very best treatment, care and support possible.”