Australian grant winners focus on patients with secondary breast cancer

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Australian grant winners focus on patients with secondary breast cancer

Australian women with a life limiting breast cancer diagnosis will be better supported to understand and access palliative care, thanks to an international grant which will be used to develop a new toolkit.

Palliative Care Australia (PCA) and Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) announced today that they had secured the grant, which would enable them to develop resources for women with secondary breast cancer.

PCA CEO Liz Callaghan said women with secondary breast cancer often struggle to find support, because much of the messaging around breast cancer is based on survival.

“While that is admirable, we know many women will die from breast cancer and they need support and resources to live the best they can.”

Liz said women with secondary breast cancer can benefit from early palliative care interventions.

“We know women often feel accessing palliative care is giving up. A BCNA survey showed women with breast cancer felt palliative care was just for the very final stages of life. Palliative care has so much more to offer them, but they need help to know when and how to access that care.

“Palliative care is truly patient-centered care with the multidisciplinary team fully focused on the needs of women and their families helping them live as well as they can.”

A number of resources will be developed, including brochures, digital media and website material so women can have better access to care and are more informed about the stages of their illness.

BCNA CEO Christine Nolan said the network wanted women with secondary breast cancer to feel empowered to make decisions about accessing palliative care.

“Palliative care can assist with symptoms such as pain or nausea in order to improve quality of life and help them live well.”

PCA and BCNA were one group of 20 organisations awarded The Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community: Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge by the Union for International Cancer Control grant from Pfizer Inc.