Today marks the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) wants to take the opportunity to shine a light on what best breast cancer care looks like and empower those diagnosed to make informed decisions about their care.
There have been many challenges over the past few years with delivering and accessing breast cancer treatment and care, on top of the existing challenges that come with navigating Australia’s complex healthcare system and the inconsistencies that exist between different groups across the country.
Vicki Durston, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Support Services, says BCNA wants to see those diagnosed be able to access the very best care, treatment and support irrespective of where they live, who they are, or their stage of diagnosis.
‘From our ground-breaking 2018 State of the Nation report, and ongoing engagement with our network of over 160,000 people with a lived experience of breast cancer, we know access to care is often challenging,’ says Ms Durston. ‘This October we want to empower those diagnosed by providing them with the tools and resources they need to understand what best care looks like and help them to make informed decisions.’
Throughout October BCNA will be promoting what optimal breast cancer care looks like by highlighting five key elements of the Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for people with breast cancer.
The OCPs are promoted as a roadmap to assist and support both health professionals and patients to understand what best care looks like and continue to strive towards improved consistency of quality of care.
Best care should be patient centred, integrated, timely and multidisciplinary. It should include both specialist and supportive care during and after treatment and patients should be informed of any suitable clinical trials.
Everyone has different needs and personal circumstances, so what is determined to be the best care for someone, might be completely different for someone else. BCNA has information and support to make sure people are informed and empowered to ask the right questions to ensure they are receiving the best care for them.