Improving information and supportive care to women in rural areas
During 2009-2011, Breast Cancer Network Australia collaborated with the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre to deliver the Supporting Women in Rural Areas Diagnosed with Breast Cancer Program, funded by the Australian Government.
From 2011-2014, this project is delivered by BCNA and funded through Cancer Australia. It includes work in a number of areas, including:
- providing high quality information in a range of formats to address needs regarding treatment and care, psychosocial well-being and local services
- facilitating and promoting supportive relationships between consumers, carers and health professionals through events and online networking
- developing capability and supporting rural and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to take leadership and supportive roles within their communities
Community Information Forums
Providing women with quality information helps them to make well considered choices and empowers them to be active participants in their breast cancer journey. We present a series of information and networking forums in regional communities across the country, related to 'Living well beyond breast cancer'. The forums welcome women and men diagnosed with breast cancer, their partners, family and supporters and include up-to-date information on breast cancer treatment and care and the emotional impact of breast cancer. They also feature support and services available in their area and the opportunity to connect with others who have been on a similar journey.
Connecting with others via new technology
BCNA's website provides current, evidence-based information for all those affected by breast cancer. It also connects people via an online community, offering women, partners and others the opportunity to share stories and experiences, and support one another. The online community is a natural extension of BCNA’s face-to-face support and particularly convenient for people living in rural and remote areas.
The website also provides an online directory of services, which is a searchable, geographic-based directory of breast cancer-related services and support, recommended by our members.
BCNA links over 320 peer-support, or Member Groups, around Australia. Two-thirds of these groups are outside major cities and provide vital face-to-face support for thousands of women during their breast cancer journey.
We hosted our National Summit for support group leaders in 2009 and 2011, with another event planned for 2013. During 2012-14, we are also continuing to train women from rural areas interested in being 'champions' for breast cancer and BCNA in their community.
BCNA greatly appreciates the support of the Australian Government, through Cancer Australia, to assist us in delivering this program.