Starting A Conversation About Secondary Breast Cancer

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14th October 2010, 09:40am - Views: 547
Embargoed until 1am
Friday, 15 October 2010

Starting a Conversation about Secondary Breast Cancer

Today at National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre's (NBOCC) Pink Ribbon Lunch the Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing will launch a new resource to assist women living with secondary breast cancer.

Secondary breast cancer (also called metastatic or advanced breast cancer) is breast cancer that has spread from the breast to other parts of the body.

New research from NBOCC has found that approximately 7000 women alive today have been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.

Many women find the news that breast cancer has spread more devastating than their original diagnoses and experience a range of emotions and responses.

"The diagnosis of secondary disease is a challenging time for the woman and her family. However, women with secondary breast cancer are able to lead fulfilled and active lives for many years and it is important that they can openly discuss their treatment and support needs," said Dr Helen Zorbas, CEO NBOCC.

Finding the Words: Starting a conversation when your cancer has progressed encourages women to start discussions about their needs including quality of life, treatment, emotional and social support with their families and healthcare team.

"While acknowledging that every individual has their own coping strategies, strengths and beliefs, this resource is designed to assist women by encouraging and empowering them to talk with the people who can support them to maintain quality of life for longer," said Dr Zorbas.

The new resource is one in a suite of NBOCC resources for women with secondary breast cancer. Guide for women with secondary breast cancer and When the woman you love has secondary breast cancer CD are also available to support women and their families.

NBOCC resources are available free of charge within Australia. To order, phone 1800 624 973 or visit www.nbocc.org.au/resources.

Breast cancer in Australia

* Around 14,000 women in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.
* Overall, five year relative survival for breast cancer is 88%.
* When breast cancer is diagnosed early (small and localised to the breast) the five year relative survival rate is 97%.
* The five year relative survival for secondary breast cancer (spread to distant organs) is about 40%.

National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre is funded by the Australian Government and works with consumers, health professionals, cancer organisations, researchers and governments to improve care and cancer control in breast and ovarian cancer.

Media contact:
Anna Karelas
0411 596 187

Erin Sharp
0458 900 777

Lisa Michalanney
0421 067 953

SOURCE: National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre

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