Forums held during 2012/2013 are held under the 'Supporting Women in Rural Areas Diagnosed with Breast Cancer' Program funded by the Australian Government.
April 2013 - Port Lincoln, South Australia
Approximately 100 women, men, partners, daughters and friends attended our Port Lincoln Community Forum on Thursday 11 April 2013.
Many travelled for more than three hours to hear from Adelaide-based medical oncologist Dr Sid Selva-Nayagam who presented on the latest advances in breast cancer treatment and care. Oncology psychologist Dr Jane Fletcher spoke about the emotional impact of breast cancer, including the impact on relationships, ways to improve sleep, through to dealing with depression and anxiety.
The audience thoroughly enjoyed Raelene Boyle’s story of her breast cancer journey – as well as her humour, and her words of encouragement.
Local breast care nurse Helen Hookings, BCNA Community Liaisons Moira Hiern and Sandra Sinclair took part in a dynamic panel discussion about the local services and supports available throughout the Eyre Peninsula. Helen explained that women can contact breast care nurses directly for information and support. Moira described her role as one of BCNA’s Online Network Champions, and encouraged everyone, particularly those living in rural and remote communities, to use the online network to connect with others in a similar situation. A keen member of Port Lincoln Dragon’s Abreast, Sandra shared stories about the group’s activities and inspired everyone to consider joining the range of local groups supporting breast cancer survivors in the region.
For more information on services and supports in the Eyre Peninsula, including links to the local support groups and breast care nurses, visit our Local Services Directory. We also welcome your recommendations.
- Congratulations to Lee-Anne Rodda, lucky winner of the evaluation form prize.
- See photo from the Port Lincoln forum in the image gallery
March 2013 - Ballarat, Victoria
Two hundred and forty women with breast cancer, supported by partners, family and friends, travelled from Creswick, Castlemaine, Geelong and Hamilton to attend our Community Forums in Ballarat on Tuesday 19 March.
A mini-field of Pink Lady silhouettes greeted everyone on arrival and people added their tribute tags throughout the day. The room was filled to capacity and you could feel the very warm and energetic atmosphere.
Medical oncologist Dr Kate Hamilton presented the latest information on breast cancer treatment and care. After lunch Raelene Boyle inspired the audience with her stories and encouragement, before Jill Lee presented on ‘More Than Surviving’. BCNA Community Liaison Colleen Thompson spoke about her work supporting women with breast cancer in the local community.
Many groups and services supporting women in the region presented information displays, including the Otis Foundation, Look Good Feel Better, BreastScreen Victoria and Relationships Australia. For further information on organisations and groups supporting women around Ballarat with breast cancer, visit our Local Services Directory. Don’t forget, you can also recommend services to include in the Directory.
The day was very positive and we hope everyone gained strength from the information presented and the invaluable opportunity to connect with others across the region.
February 2013 - Sale, Victoria
Sale turned on hot humid weather for BCNA's Community Forum on Wednesday 27 February, where 175 women supported by partners, family and friends travelled from greater Gippsland to attend our first forum for 2013.
BCNA Pink Lady silhouettes greeted the woman as they arrived and tribute tags were placed on the silhouettes. Many positive messages were left, including this one - "If nothing else, breast cancer brings bonds of friendship which are everlasting".
Women heard from the inspiring Raelene Boyle, followed by guest speakers including, medical oncologist, Dr Yoland Antill, counsellor, Jay Renalson, lymphedema specialist Janet Milne and local BCNA Community Representative, Marlene Parsons.
Overall the day was an incredible success. We hope that everyone felt empowered by the valuable information presented and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with others from across the Gippsland Region.
Thank you to all of our support groups, community ‘champions’, volunteers and local support organisations who came together to help make this forum successful. A special thank you to our guest speakers and to Marlene Parsons who continues to be a wonderful BCNA representative and a fantastic support to people diagnosed with breast cancer in her community.
Congratulations to Jenny Bennett who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
November 2012 - Bunbury, Western Australia
BCNA’s 'Living well beyond breast cancer' hosted in Bunbury on Saturday 24th November drew more than 300 women with breast cancer and their supporters to the Quality Lord Forrest Hotel venue.
Our CEO Maxine Morand hosted the forum, which featured guest speakers including medical oncologist Dr Christobel Saunders, McGrath breast care nurse Donna Cook and sexologist Helena Green.
Attendees told us they found the topics informative and interesting and many said they would have liked to have a whole weekend to learn more. We received great feedback about how special it was for women on a similar journey to come together. 'I enjoyed the event and met some wonderful people', 'My first conference! Loved it! Enjoyed the fellowship with other women. Thank you.'
We also received some excellent constructive feedback on topics we can include in future forums and ways we can build on the success of our forums into the future.
November 2012 - Joondalup, Western Australia
Our forum in Joondalup Perth held on Thursday 22nd November also focused on 'Living well beyond breast cancer'. Again, more than 300 people came along to the Joondalup Reception Centre to hear from a range of fantastic guest speakers, including specialist breast care nurse Denise Kiff, medical oncologist Dr Joanna Dewar and Support Services Coordinator from Breast Cancer Care WA Cathie Smith.
One attendee wrote 'Thank you for giving us a chance to get together with people who have had a similar journey.' It was also a great opportunity to highlight the amazing support groups available to women in the area.
October 2012 - Toowoomba, Queensland
BCNA hosted a forum in Toowoomba on Friday 12 October. The forum was focused on 'Living well beyond breast cancer' and more than 200 BCNA members and their supporters attended the event held at the Empire Theatre.
The forum was hosted by BCNA Head of Programs Julie Hassard and we would like to thank our guest speakers; Medical Oncologist Associate Professor Nicole McCarthy and Psychiatrist, Associate Professor Jane Turner. Local breast care nurses Bronwyn King and Marion Strong also gave an informative presentation on the day.
The forum was very well received by all who attended despite the below freezing temperatures on the day. Friday tuned out to be the coldest October day in Toowoomba in recorded history so thanks to all who braved the cold and spent the day with us. We sold a record number of pashminas as you can imagine so anyone who missed out you can order your pashmina through BCNA's online Shop.
October 2012 - Gold Coast, QLD
In conjunction with the Bakers Delight Conference, BCNA hosted a forum on the Gold Coast on Tuesday 2 October. The forum focused on 'Living well beyond breast cancer' and more than 300 BCNA members and their supporters attended the event held at the Gold Coast Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The forum was hosted by BCNA CEO Maxine Morand and guest speakers included BCNA Chair and breast cancer survivor Marg O'Donnell, Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, Medical Oncologist Dr Michelle Cronk and Associate Professor Jane Turner from the University of Queensland School of Medicine.
BCNA's new resource breast cancer exercise booklet was also launched at the forum. BCNA's Breast cancer and excercise booklet has been designed to help women diagnosed with breast cancer to exercise regularly, and contains information on the benefits of exercise, the amount of exercise recommended for women diagnosed with breast cancer, practical strategies to stay motivated, and an exercise diary to keep track of your achievements. The booklet is available to order online.
BCNA would like to acknowledge Bakers Delight for their support and contribution to the BCNA Gold Coast Forum.
September 2012 - Melbourne, Victoria
On Monday 3 September, BCNA held a forum in Melbourne for women with secondary breast cancer titled 'Living well with secondary breast cancer'. More than 150 women and their partners and supporters attended the event held at the Novotel, St Kilda.
The forum was hosted by BCNA CEO Maxine Morand and guest speakers included medical oncologist Associate Professor Fran Boyle, psychologist Dr Jane Fletcher, and GP & BCNA Clinical Advisor Dr Julie Thompson.
Attendees also heard from three remarkable women who kindly shared their personal stories, Marlene Parsons, Susan Crawshaw and Amanda Rynne.
The new edition of the Hope & Hurdles (for women with secondary breast cancer) was officially launched at the forum and is available to order online.
Congratulations to Sally Leavold who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
September 2012 - Melbourne, Victoria
Over 250 women and supporters attended our forum, 'Early breast cancer: the first five years’ at the Novotel St Kilda on Tuesday 4 September.
CEO Maxine Morand hosted the event, featuring guest speakers; medical oncologist Dr Richard de Boer, psychologist Dr Jane Fletcher and GP & BCNA Clinical Advisor Dr Julie Thompson.
Congratulations to Maria Maggio who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
August 2012 - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
The Chifley Resort was the venue for our Alice Springs forum held on 18 August. Thirty eight attendees. Our local Community Liaison Lesley Reilly and members of local support group Bosom Buddies helped us plan this very successful event, which drew 38 local women and supporters together on the day.
Medical oncologist, Dr Ru-Wen The from Perth, presented current information on breast cancer and answered a range of questions. Raelene Boyle generously shared her breast cancer story and Dr Jane Turner spoke on the emotional impact of breast cancer her realistic, practical, and humorous style.
A number of local service providers, including the local oncology nurse, the lymphoedema practitioner and yoga teacher and Relationships Australia Manager also talked about the services they provide, which generated great interest among the audience.
Over the past four years, Lesley, Sandy and some of the other local women produced the DVD 'Listen you women' featuring six Aboriginal women with breast cancer, which we screened at the end of the day.
Importantly, the forum helped our local Community Liaison and support group connect with more local women. We received a gift from 'the women of Alice Springs' - a beautiful book featuring artwork from local Arrernte artist, Kathleen Wallace
June 2012 - Lismore, New South Wales
On Tuesday 19 June, BCNA held a forum in Lismore for women with breast cancer titled 'Living well beyond breast cancer'. About 130 of our members and their guests attended the event, which was held at the Lismore City Hall.
BCNA Head of Programs, Julie Hassard hosted the event, with guest speakers including Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, medical oncologist Assoc Prof Nicholas Wilcken, Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, as well as author and breast cancer survivor Stephanie Dowrick.
Congratulations to Helen Parker who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
May 2012 - Bundaberg, Queensland
BCNA hosted a 'Living well beyond breast cancer' forum in Bundaberg on Wednesday 23 May 2012 with more than 140 members and their support people attending.
BCNA Chair Marg O'Donnell hosted the event, with guest speakers including Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, medical oncologist Dr Michelle Cronk, McGrath breast care nurse Margie Mears and author and breast cancer survivor Stephanie Dowrick.
Breast reconstruction waiting lists
During the plenary session, some women raised the issue of long waiting times for delayed breast reconstruction in Brisbane public hospitals. BCNA investigated breast reconstruction waiting list times in 2010-2011. We surveyed women with breast cancer and breast care nurses across Australia about their experiences.
In our survey of women, two women in Queensland reported waiting 2-3 years for breast reconstruction surgery. No women reported waiting longer than 2-3 years. However, one breast care nurse based in a regional Queensland town reported that women in her area wait 6-7 years for reconstruction at a particular hospital in Brisbane. It may be that women living in regional areas of Queensland do have a longer waiting time than women who live in Brisbane, although our surveys did not reflect this.
If you are experiencing a long waiting time for breast reconstruction and would like to let us know about it, please email
You can read about our breast reconstruction project, including reports of the work we undertook, on the Advocacy pages of our website.
- Congratulations to Ruth Marner who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
- See some photos from the Bundaberg forum in the image gallery
May 2012 - Cairns, Queensland
On Friday 25 May, BCNA visited Cairns to hold a forum for women with breast cancer titled 'Living well beyond breast cancer'. About 120 of our members and their guests attended the event, which was held at Rydges Esplanade Resort in Cairns.
BCNA CEO, Maxine Morand hosted the event, with guest speakers including Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, medical oncologist Dr Catherine Shannon, McGrath breast care nurse Sandra Gregg, and coordinator of psychosocial cancer care and cancer social worker Dr Carrie Lethborg.
Triple negative breast cancer
During the plenary session, the topic of triple negative breast cancer was raised.
BCNA's online network includes a triple negative breast cancer group, set up by women with triple negative breast cancer. The group currently has 48 members, and provides support and a place for discussion for women with triple negative breast cancer.
- Congratulations to Marg Hayden who won a selection of BCNA goodies as the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
- See some photos from the Cairns forum in the image gallery
April 2012 - Warrnambool, Victoria
BCNA hosted a 'Living well beyond breast cancer' forum in Warrnambool on Friday 20 April with more than 170 members and their support people attending.
BCNA CEO Maxine Morand hosted the event, with guest speakers including local medical oncologist Dr Theresa Hayes, McGrath breast care nurse Rebecca Hay and Psychologist/Psycho-oncologist Jane Fletcher.
- Congratulations to Nolene Watts who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
- See photos from the Warrnambool forum in the image gallery
March 2012 - Orange, New South Wales
On Wednesday 14 March, BCNA visited Orange to hold a forum for women with breast cancer titled 'Living well beyond breast cancer'. About 150 of our members and their guests attended the event, which was held at the Orange Ex-Services Club.
BCNA Head of Marketing and Communications Sarah Brennan hosted the event, with guest speakers including Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, medical oncologist Assoc Prof Fran Boyle, McGrath breast care nurses Susan Kuter and Rachel Gorrell, Glenys Schultz from Relationships Australia as well as author and breast cancer survivor Stephanie Dowrick.
Congratulations to Corinne Stringer who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!
February 2012 - Adelaide, South Australia
BCNA held a repeat event of our November forum to cater for those who missed out on attending our forum in 2011. It was held at the National Wine Centre of Australia at the University of Adelaide on Friday 17 February, and almost 300 of our members and their partners attended.
Guest speakers included Olympian and breast cancer survivor Raelene Boyle, medical oncologist Dr Richard de Boer, author and breast cancer survivor Stephanie Dowrick and also local McGrath breast care nurse Judith Iasiello. The forum was hosted by BCNA CEO Maxine Morand.
Congratulations to Debbie Grzeczkowski who was the lucky winner of the evaluation form raffle!