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More breast care nurses as diagnosis numbers continue to rise

By Karen Keast | Date Updated:

McGrath Foundation ambassador and director Tracy Bevan

New statistics forecast an extra 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Australia in 2020.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Cancer Australia report, Breast cancer in Australia: an overview, has revealed 37 Australian women are now diagnosed with the disease every day but that figure is expected to jump to 47 women diagnosed daily in eight years’ time.

The report predicts the number of women diagnosed with the disease will rise due to the ageing population with about 17,200 new breast cancers expected to be diagnosed in 2020.

The statistics come as the McGrath Foundation continues to work towards its target of
introducing 150 breast care nurses to support families experiencing breast cancer across Australia.

McGrath Foundation ambassador and director Tracy Bevan said there are now 77 McGrath breast care nurses across Australia, and based on current breast cancer statistics, the foundation aims to reach its target of 150 to ensure every family going through breast cancer has access to a breast care nurse.

“Jane (McGrath, the foundation founder) passed away in 2008 and before she passed we had four. In that short time we have gone to 77,” Ms Bevan said.

“We have had an amazing amount of support but we realise we are not going to get to 150 in the same amount of time.

“We have still got to continue the funding for the 77 nurses, so we know we have got a big job.”

Ms Bevan said, like all nurses, it takes a special kind of person to become a breast care nurse.

She said Jane went through her first treatment in 1997 without a breast care nurse and experienced the difference of having a breast care nurse at her side following her re-diagnosis in 2003.

“I know all breast care nurses are special people. I know it’s true because of what Jane told me,” she said.

“Jane said ‘she’s you going through the breast cancer - she’s the friend holding my hand’.

“Jane said ‘I didn’t invite breast cancer into my life and I don’t want it to be part of my friendship’.

“She said ‘she answers all of the questions that you can’t and I can speak with her and tell her how I am truly feeling’.

“They just bring so much support to the person going through breast cancer.”
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