October 1 is the commencement of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It is yet another strong reminder to all Australian women they should put their health and well-being first.
Early detection remains the best chance of survival.
It is important women of all ages self-check their breasts, and women aged 50 to 74 years take up BreastScreen Australia’s invitation of a free screening. Many women are still not participating in the free screening program, although it could save their lives.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women apart from non-melanoma skin cancer.
In 2019, it is estimated more than 19,300 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. More than 3,000 women are expected to die from the disease.
As a result of the huge strides we have made in diagnosing breast cancer early and in treatment, more than nine out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia will survive.
But prevention is always better than cure.
There are known risk factors for breast cancer, and while some such as family history are not modifiable, some are.
Every woman should learn about these to understand her own risk. Information is available on the Cancer Australia’s website: https://breastcancerriskfactors.gov.au
The Morrison Government is strongly committed to reducing cancer’s toll on Australians. We are increasing our support to women to help them to reduce their risks and to survive breast cancer.
From 1 November 2019, Medicare will subsidise breast cancer scans, saving women up to $1,500 per scan, and PET scans for advanced breast cancer, saving up to $1000 per scan.
We have also increased our commitment to McGrath Foundation breast cancer nurses. An additional $27.7 million will see the number of Commonwealth-funded nurses rise from 57 to 98 by 2022–23.
We continue to list the latest proven treatments for breast cancer on the PBS. In May, Ibrance® (palbociclib) was listed for patients with inoperable or metastatic hormone receptor positive breast cancer.
Around 3,000 women each year will benefit from this decision. Without the PBS subsidy, Ibrance would cost around $55,000 for a year’s treatment.
The Government is committed to delivering a healthier Australia, and supporting Australians when they need it most.
Our plan for a strong economy continues to deliver record funding for essential health services that save lives.