A roadmap to finally count the number of people diagnosed with incurable and life limiting metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is a step closer thanks to the $1.5 million announced today by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to fund a cancer data alliance.
Almost two years ago a group of Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) consumer representatives living with metastatic breast cancer told us they feel invisible.
They wanted to be made visible by being counted properly on all our cancer registries across Australia. Currently this data is not consistently collected across all states and territories.
Last November BCNA launched the roadmap to address the lack of national cancer data for those living with MBC at Parliament House, Canberra.
The roadmap was the result of a roundtable that saw experts from across the sector work towards recommendations to improve Australia’s cancer data, which aligns with one of the priorities of the first Australian Cancer Plan, launched last year.
BCNA Director Policy Advocacy & Support Services, Vicki Durston acknowledged everyone who had come together to make this roadmap a reality, including the late Peta Murphy MP who stood with BCNA for many years to have people with MBC made visible through national data collection.
“She would have been so incredibly proud that we are now closer to ensuring that the many thousands of invisible Australians with metastatic breast cancer will no longer be hidden in plain sight,” Ms Durston said.
“We know that cancer sectors in other countries around the world are watching Australia, this is our chance to build on progress being made and to become a world leader in health data.”
This $1.5 million funding to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare will ensure the formation of an Australian Cancer Data Alliance, which will see state and territory cancer registries supported to work towards routinely collecting cancer stage and recurrence data.
“This Federal Government funding will help the sector pioneer the collection of this important data to inform and drive policy, innovation, planning, treatment and care,” Ms Durston said.
“How can we possibly support this population living with metastatic disease and meet their needs when we don’t know how many people in Australia are living with metastatic breast cancer?
“Today we can begin consolidating a way forward for better quality data not just for breast cancer, but for all metastatic cancers.”
BCNA has been calling for improvements to Australia’s cancer data since 1998 and will today mark this key milestone alongside all those with a lived experience of cancer and their advocates.
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Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is Australia’s leading breast cancer consumer organisation. BCNA provides information and support to those diagnosed and their supporters, opportunities to connect with others going through a similar situation and work to influence a stronger healthcare system to ensure all Australians affected by breast cancer receive the very best care, treatment, and support.
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
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