In 1998, Founder Lyn Swinburne needed a way to stay in touch with the network that was quickly growing, so she sat at her kitchen table and wrote the first edition of The Beacon. The newsletter’s name and purpose were the same – to provide a light through the darkness for women and their families affected by breast cancer.
Today, this magazine continues to share your stories from around the network, and engage our members in conversations – whether about the latest in new drugs and treatments, advocacy wins, or upcoming events. The Beacon is distributed quarterly to over 80,000 subscribers and we are proud to offer this 95th edition!
The trust and respect BCNA has gained over the years comes from our approach in translating the latest in clinical advice with a strong consumer lens and purpose. Since 1999 when we produced the first physical My Journey, each new iteration has evolved based on feedback from our network coupled with the latest health information and advice through strong partnerships with health professionals and the research sector.
Today, My Journey is an app and website used by 24,000 people and contains tailored information based on your breast cancer diagnosis as well as other factors that may affect how you access treatment and support. Providing tailored information helps alleviate the ‘information overload’ experienced by many who are newly diagnosed, and ensures we are providing information that is both timely and relevant.
To sign up, see My Journey.
BCNA’s mission is to reach all Australians affected by breast cancer, in even the most isolated areas where we know access to care can be a challenge. Our suite of digital resources, including webcasts and podcasts, helps people, particularly those living in rural and regional areas, to access support they otherwise might not have been able to. Our website is a popular source of information and is visited by over 300,000 people every year.
From the beginning, people have called BCNA for information and support, and to share their experiences. Our Helpline - 1800 500 258 - was officially launched in 2001 and continues to provide compassionate and practical support to over 10,000 people every year, including family and friends of those diagnosed.
I feel heard, appreciated and not judged.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or you’re a health professional looking for trusted resources, call BCNA’s Helpline on 1800 500 258.
In 2005, BCNA teamed up with Berlei to create the My Care Kit to provide a practical support to those who have undergone a mastectomy.
My Care Kit is available free of charge to anyone in Australia who undergoes surgery for breast cancer. This year, we will deliver the 200,000th My Care Kit.
For more information and to order yours, visit My Care Kit or call our Helpline on 1800 500 258.
Our growing network has helped us reach more people, hear their diverse experiences, and better understand and address their needs. We offer tailored resources for:
Everyone experiences shock when diagnosed, but as a man with breast cancer, there’s also a kind of stigma. A lot of men won’t talk about it, and I think suffer psychologically from the fact they have what’s known more commonly as a woman's disease, which it’s not. I’ve tried to change that for other men through my work with BCNA, so other men don’t feel alone or like they can’t talk about it.
BCNA is fortunate for the many health professionals who contribute their expertise to share with our network. Our podcast series Upfront About Breast Cancer – What You Don’t Know Until You Do with Clinical Psychologist and breast cancer survivor Dr Charlotte Tottman, helps address the gap in access to psychosocial support for those with breast cancer, especially for those in rural and regional areas who may experience further challenges in accessing these services.
Listened to over 63,000 times since being released, the first season covered many topics including dealing with the initial shock of diagnosis, impact on sexuality and intimacy, and fear of cancer recurrence.
A second season has just been released.
Season 2 of What You Don’t Know Until You Do: Unlimited, is available now via Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.
The first series revealed a huge demand for lower-level ongoing support for those with chronic illness. It really filled an unmet need for people on waitlists for psychological support, people living in rural and regional areas and even those who felt their post treatment adjustment wasn’t a priority in the mental health system.