This World Cancer Day (4th Feb 24), our focus turns to bridging the gap to ensure that every individual, regardless of their cultural background or geographical location, receives fair and equitable care. No matter who we are or where we live, we all deserve access to accurate information on cancer and quality care services in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support.
At Breast Cancer Care WA, we believe that every individual diagnosed with breast cancer should receive the support and resources they deserve. Not just access to medical treatments, but access to emotional support, financial assistance, evidence-based education and community services such as breast screening.
Last year, 19% of our clients lived in regional or remote Western Australia. That’s almost one in five clients who face limited access to healthcare services. It is essential that we offer online counselling, nursing and support groups for our clients in remote areas, so that they feel supported When they are facing breast cancer.
We are also taking the initiative to engage with regional Community Resource Centres to enhance our outreach by providing computer and internet access to enable clients to attend these essential support groups and online counselling sessions. These services foster a sense of connection, which is vital for mental well-being.
Currently we are developing a Reconciliation Action Plan to help close the gap in breast cancer care for First Nations people. These individuals face notable challenges in accessing timely screening, receiving prompt diagnoses, and obtaining appropriate treatment for breast cancer. It is imperative we close the divide as soon as we can and enhance the outcomes for First Nations people with breast cancer.
Our service staff have built strong relationships with Cancer Nurse Co-ordinators and McGrath Breast Care Nurses in regional areas. There is a BCCWA counsellor based in Mandurah who regularly services the Peel region.
This month we will be introducing a ‘Living well with breast cancer’ program, a suite of wellness activities, interactive workshops, educational webinars, and community events designed to empower people who have completed active treatment for early breast cancer or who are ‘Living With metastatic breast cancer. This program will run in various locations across Perth, Peel and Bunbury, as well as online for our regional clients.
For our clients where English is a second language, we offer appointments with translators, helping to facilitate cross-cultural understanding and break down any language barriers about their treatment and care.
By offering all the above incentives, we hope to pave the way for a future where every breast cancer client, regardless of their background or location, has access to quality care and timely support. Together, we can and are making a difference. Let’s close the care gap.