The Federal Government announced an additional $18.5 million to the McGrath Foundation for more specialist breast cancer care nurses at Saturday’s ‘Jane McGrath Day’ at the Sydney Test.
The funding will allow all 44 existing McGrath Breast Care Nurse positions to continue as well as expand the program by 10 fulltime equivalent places.
The McGrath Foundation was set up in honour of Jane McGrath, the late wife of Australian cricket great Glenn McGrath.
The breast care nurse program began after the government committed $12 million to the McGrath Foundation in 2008 for recruitment, training and placement of specialist nurses around Australia.
Glenn McGrath said the Foundation had worked tirelessly over the past four years to maximise every fundraising opportunity.
"But we know there is much more work to do and the team won't rest until we've seen our vision of a breast care nurse for every Australian family experiencing breast cancer," he said in a statement.
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer in Australian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, accounting for almost 30% of all new cancers in women. Three quarters of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women aged more than 50 years with the incidence increasing as women age. More than 14,500 women were diagnosed with the disease in 2010 compared with 113 men.
On the plus side, the most recent data available (2010) shows that the 5 year survival rate for women with breast cancer is around 90% with many women living long and healthy lives well beyond the five year timeframe.
The McGrath Breast Care Nurses play a vital role in supporting and helping women with breast cancer. They are specially trained registered nurses who act as patient advocates, coordinating care for women with breast cancer, their family and their carers.They work to ensure physical, psychological and basic support needs are met.