Australia’s Breast Cancer Day marks 20 years of national efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Established by breast cancer survivor Associate Professor Linda Reaby OAM and launched by Annita Keating in 1994, the national breast cancer awareness day is now widely recognised as Pink Ribbon Day. It’s aim is to remember those we have lost to breast cancer, celebrate survivors, support those facing secondary breast cancer, and review progress in the control of this disease.
During those 20 years, the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia (BCIA) has raised funds to support clinical trials research and significant achievements have been made through clinical trials to improve the lives of all those diagnosed with breast cancer or who are at risk. These include:
- Identifying new treatments tailored to each woman’s specific type of breast cancer and which have fewer side effects and can save more lives.
- Showing breast cancer can be prevented in some women at increased risk.
- Identifying new treatment options for younger women which don’t damage their ovaries so they can still have a family.
- Helping more women to keep their breast when having surgery for breast cancer.
- Preventing breast cancer returning in women treated for breast cancer.
In 2014, a new generation of breast cancer clinical trials supported by the BCIA aims to provide women diagnosed with breast cancer more treatment options and to help in making decisions about the treatment that is right for them and their families.
This new research aims through neodajuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy before surgery) to reduce the size of the breast cancer tumour before surgery, potentially helping more women to avoid more extensive surgery including mastectomy and reconstruction. Neoadjuvant treatment also provides information about the responsiveness of the cancer to treatment and is one way of assessing the effectiveness of new drugs.
In the last 20 years, deaths from breast cancer have fallen significantly largely due to public awareness campaigns promoting early detection, and to new treatments proved effective through clinical trials research. But sadly seven women still die of breast cancer every day in Australia and more breast cancer clinical trials are needed.
Find out more about the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia at www.bcia.org.au or by calling 1800 423 444.