Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) welcomes yesterday’s announcement by the Australian Government to lift the COVID-19 restrictions on some elective surgeries.
The news will see post-cancer breast reconstruction and IVF start again as early as Monday.
Some breast cancer patients who have been scheduled for a mastectomy during this time have been unable to have an immediate breast reconstruction.
BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti says, we are delighted Minister Hunt has announced that reconstruction can now be provided. If a woman wants a breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, then she should be able to have one.
“We are very happy to hear the elective surgery restrictions have been lifted for breast reconstruction. One of the challenges is that breast reconstruction should never be considered an elective surgery. It is just so important that we ensure that, if there is capacity, we resume these reconstructions so they can rebuild their lives.”
BCNA knows that jurisdictions may currently be in different circumstances, depending on the extent of COVID-19 in local areas, or their waiting lists, however it’s important that all Australian women and men diagnosed with breast cancer continue to receive the best care, which includes the option to have a breast reconstruction.
Women aged 20-39 account for around five per cent of all breast cancer diagnoses in Australia and some treatments, especially chemotherapy, are known to reduce fertility.
BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti says, there is often only a small window for patients to undergo fertility treatment before starting chemotherapy.
“Lifting the IVF restrictions will be a huge relief for so many young women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer as it means they can undergo fertility preservation and keep their options open for the future.”
It is now more important than ever that young women have access to information about fertility preservation when diagnosed. BCNA has a fertility resource available on our My Journey online tool to help women make decisions.