A free national webinar will be conducted by Cancer Council Victoria next Tuesday in response to inquiries regarding Angelina Jolie’s recent prophylactic (preventive) double mastectomy.
Ms Jolie’s comments regarding the procedure have resulted in a 1033% increase in enquiries to the Cancer Council’s Helpline. Similar increases were experienced by a range of support services across Australia.
The free national webinar will be held on Tuesday 25th June from 7.30pm-8.30pm on ‘Breast cancer in the family - What does that mean for me?’’
“Online support is an important area of growth for Cancer Council Victoria. We want to provide a range of support options that allow people touched by cancer to pick and choose what they want to access, whenever they need it and however is most convenient,” said CEO Todd Harper.
He said this sort of event was particularly helpful for those in regional areas where local services could be limited or over-burdened.
“If someone has access to a telephone or internet they can take part which is a shift away from the traditional ways we have delivered support in the past. It is about responding to the needs of our cancer community, and providing those in regional and rural areas with access to the same services those closer to city centres benefit from.”
Although breast cancer is common in Australia, only 5-10% of cases are linked to known genetic factors.
However, Mary-Anne Young, Senior Genetic Counsellor at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s Familial Cancer Centre, said this sort of statistic didn’t relay the anxieties of many women, especially if they have a history of breast cancer in their family. She is a guest speaker at the webinar.
“Providing women with the opportunity to ask questions, and access to information about what they can do to reduce their cancer risk is invaluable. We hope this webinar will reduce unnecessary anxiety we have seen in patients since Ms Jolie’s announcement, and provide women with the resources of where to go next if genetic testing is an option. The fact they can do this from the comfort of their own home is a bonus.”
A report released on the weekend by Cancer Council Victoria indicated that 72% of respondents surveyed would first look online to find information about cancer, an increase of 9% since the 2010 survey.