October 23, 2008
John Key’s announcement today that a National-led government will fund 12 months of Herceptin could bring immeasurable relief to women and their families affected by early stage HER2 positive breast cancer.
The National health policy has brought new hope to Herceptin campaigners who have battled PHARMAC with petitions and legal proceedings in unsuccessful attempts to overturn the current situation of funding for only 9 weeks of treatment. Twelve months of Herceptin is the current standard treatment publicly funded for women in 33 other countries.
10th December 2008
The government’s announcement it will provide funding for 52 weeks of the breast cancer drug Herceptin means Christmas will come early for hundreds of New Zealand women with Her2 positive early breast cancer and their families.
Libby Burgess, chair of the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition says the decision comes as a huge relief for the women of New Zealand.
‘It is wonderful that the government has acted so quickly, alleviating the stress and anxiety of women whose best chance of long term survival depends on receiving this clinically proven treatment.’
28 May 2009
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) applauds the Government’s move to boost funding for healthcare as part of Budget 2009.
The Finance Minister, Bill English, announced today that an additional $3billion would be invested in health over the next four years. This includes new money for subsidised medicines and elective surgery.
The chairperson of BCAC, Libby Burgess, says the funding boost for health will make a real difference to the lives of many people.
12 August 2009
The Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition (BCAC) believes new national guidelines on the management of early breast cancer will help to save lives.
The New Zealand Guidelines Group today released the Early Breast Cancer Guidelines at the inaugural National Maori Cancer Forum in Rotorua.
BCAC chairperson, Libby Burgess, says the guidelines set out national standards for breast cancer care in key areas such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and psychosocial support.
Breast cancer is uncommon in men, but it does happen. About one per cent of all diagnosed cases of breast cancer in Aotearoa New Zealand will be in men, with around 25 men diagnosed each year.
Initial symptoms of breast cancer in men can include:
- a lump or lumpiness around your nipple
- a change in the shape of your nipple or breast area
- bleeding from the nipple
- pain in the nipple or pectoral area
- skin changes such as redness, rash, ulceration, puckering or dimpling
- a lump in your armpit
If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical help straight away. Many men assume that only women can get breast cancer and either do not seek help or are too embarrassed to seek help.
For many women of working age the impact of breast cancer on finances or career can be a pressing issue.
You may be worried about how taking time off for treatment for breast cancer may impact your career or how the disease may affect your colleagues’ perceptions of your career path. Remember the most important thing is to get well. Once you are better you will find that others soon forget your illness and it will cease to affect their views of your ability to do your job or your commitment to your work.
If breast cancer treatment puts you under financial stress because you have to pay for treatment or take time off work, there is help available. You may be eligible for:
Being diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman can be an especially tough and sometimes lonely experience. It’s more unusual for women under 40 to get breast cancer, but it does happen. However, there are fewer people your own age to discuss your experience with and you may feel more isolated and less able to make use of support groups.
If you are diagnosed at a young age, the shock may be greater and you may feel a greater sense of “why me?” Sometimes women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age have a more aggressive form of the disease so you may feel unsure of your ability to fight it and scared of what the future may hold.
For a woman of child bearing age, a diagnosis of breast cancer can cause a natural anxiety about the risk of infertility. A treatment regime of surgery and radiotherapy is unlikely to result in fertility issues, but if you need chemotherapy or certain hormone therapies, your fertility may be affected.