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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In 2014 15,000 Australian women and 125 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. One in eight women will be diagnosed by the time they turn 85.

Despite improvements in diagnoses, treatment and management, statistics currently show that 42 Australian women are diagnosed each day and seven of those will lose their lives to breast cancer.

Raising awareness is an important element in the fight to reduce the impact of breast cancer and throughout the world, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

This October Australians should to take time out to make sure family, friends and loved ones are well informed, and ensure those affected know they are not alone in their breast cancer journey.

Breast Cancer Network Australia is this year using the month to particularly focus on the unique needs and challenges faced by women living with secondary breast cancer. On Monday 13 October, for the first time in Australia, we will acknowledge Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

Secondary breast cancer is also known also known as advanced, metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer. This means the cancer has spread from the original site in the breast to other parts of the body such as the bones, lungs or liver.

Although secondary breast cancer can be treated, sometimes for many years, it is currently incurable. This year, around 2,700 Australian women will die from secondary breast cancer but it is unknown how many more women are currently living with advanced disease.

BCNA CEO Maxine Morand said that some women living with secondary breast cancer find the focus on breast cancer survivors during October challenging.

“Sometimes women with secondary breast cancer tell us they feel ‘overlooked’ or ‘invisible’, particularly during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October,” Maxine said.

Maxine said many women living with secondary breast cancer are unaware of the support available, such as BCNA’s free Hope & Hurdles pack especially for women diagnosed with secondary disease.

“We are calling on the community to help us raise awareness of secondary breast cancer this October and make sure all Australian women living with secondary breast cancer are connected with BCNA to receive the best information and support possible.”

Throughout the month of October BCNA will use social and traditional media to help raise awareness, educate the public to better understand secondary breast cancer and support women living with the disease.

How to get involved

More information

  • If you have been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and have not yet received BCNA’s free Hope & Hurdles pack phone 1800 500 258 to order or visit www.bcna.org.au/hope-hurdles-pack for more information.