In March 2022, the BCNA Policy and Advocacy team hosted a two-day Think Tank event in Melbourne, bringing together 21 consumers with a lived experience of breast cancer from across Australia.
The Think Tank provided an opportunity for consumers to help drive the implementation of BCNA’s Policy and Advocacy Strategy as well as sharing experiences and insights as to new ways in which BCNA can work with consumers more effectively.
It was an opportunity to hear lived experiences because, as one of the participants so eloquently said, ‘a voice of one is a song for many’.
The first day focused on the individual voices of consumers who shared their breast cancer stories and the issues that matter to them. Their lived experiences represented a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, First Peoples, LGBTIQ+ and living in a regional/remote area.
This was followed by a discussion about how the lived experience informed the four key focus areas of BCNA’s Policy and Advocacy Strategy:
Year 1 – reducing the cost of breast cancer for those diagnosed
Year 2 – improving equity of access to optimal breast cancer care
Year 3 – improving the experience of living well with and beyond breast cancer
Across the three years – improving outcomes through reducing risk of developing breast cancer and early detection activity.
The conversation looked at how these areas were chosen and the actions, progress and impact of the strategy so far.
Day two focused on how, as a consumer-led organisation, BCNA strives to turn solo voices into a choir. This included hearing from a BCNA consumer perspective on what it truly means to be a consumer-led organisation and the path ahead for BCNA.
BCNA CEO Kirsten Pilatti presented a leadership perspective on BCNA’s origins, its successes and the organisation’s direction. An overview of the key consumer groups driving BCNA’s advocacy work highlighted BCNA’s continued commitment to being consumer driven:
The presentation covered how and why these groups were established and attendees then shared their ideas about how these groups can continue to serve their purpose.
The event ended in a crescendo of voices as a BCNA Consumer Representative reflected upon the Think Tank and consumers were encouraged to speak up and ask questions.
As one attendee so aptly described the role of Consumer Representatives, ‘We are the choir, we write the music, we sing the song, BCNA runs the recital centre’.
Thanks to all the consumers who participated in the Think Tank event and for sharing their lived experience.
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.