Media opportunity: Did you choose not to have radiotherapy due to travel/distance?

Laura Crowden's picture
Posted by Laura Crowden in BCNA, on 08 Jul 2014, 10:39AM

Hello,

I am looking for women in regional or rural NSW and Victoria who opted NOT to have radiotherapy to avoid spending long amounts of time away from home and their family.

I have been appoached by Daily Telegraph newspaper in NSW who is working on a campaign around rural health. They would like to focus on poor access to radiotherapy in rural and remote areas.

The journalist I am working with is keen to speak to women in NSW or Victoria who opted to undergo a mastectomy (or double mastectomy) to avoid radiotherapy and having to spend weeks away from home.

Ideally they would like to speak to someone this week. If this sounds like you and your comfortable sharing your story, please email media@bcna.org.au

Alternatively if you know of someone who meets the criteria, please encourage them to get in touch.

It's an important issue and one that we are keen to help raise awareness of.

Cheers,

Laura - BCNA Media Manager 

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Living in the Country

VivW's picture

Dear Laura,

I do not fit into your criteria, but wanted to address this topic from a different perspective.

Another issue with ladies in Regional and Rural areas is cost.  I live on the Victorian/NSW Border, my options for Radiation were with the local Private Radiation/Oncology Unit or a six hour round trip to Melbourne  (I had 30 radiation sessions).

If I lived in the city I would be able to have Radiation at a Public Hospital with all costs going through Medicare.

The out of pocket costs of having Radiation through this private system ran into the thousands.  Having a diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating enough without the ongoing financial ramifications.

I requested a mastectomy, however my diagnosis of clear margins, low grade cancer and no lymph node involvement didn’t warrant this drastic procedure.  I also wonder if ladies are opting for mastectomy because they feel that the outcome is better than having a Lumpectomy followed by Radiation?

Laura, one issue that I think a lot of ladies would like the BCNA  to push for more public awareness of is the unfairness of costs  when diagnosed with Breast Cancer. One being the discrimination of costs involved with Mammograms and Ultrasounds.  Prior to my diagnosis I could go and have a free mammogram through Breast Screen, now that I have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer I am no longer eligible, I will now have large out of pocket costs to have my yearly tests.  I call this Discrimination!

Viv

Lisa Morstyn's picture

Thanks for your comments and feedback Viv. This is Lisa from the Policy Team. The issue of screening that you raised is something that BCNA has been concerned about for a long time. In 2009, we responded to a BreastScreen Australia Evaluation Report, noting our strong view that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer should be eligible for free mammograms as part of their follow up care.

We believe that women who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer should have the option to return to BreastScreen for annual screening mammograms from five years after their diagnosis, and we will continue to do work in this area.

Best regards,
Lisa


 

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