WOMEN in the south-west who have been diagnosed with breast cancer now have access to a breast cancer resource library to help them draw inspiration and information for their battle with the disease.
Warrnambool Base Hos-pital has established the resource library, which consists of more than 40 books and videos, with a grant of $2173 from the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Campaign on behalf of Cancer Australia.
Items in the collection, which will be housed at the hospital’s Stan Carroll library, can be lent for free to the public and by regional health professionals.
South West Healthcare (SWH) McGrath Breast Care nurse Melissa King said she was seeing an increasing number of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The collection would help them better understand their treatment and draw strength from the personal experiences of others who had breast cancer.
Ms King attributed the increasing number of breast cancer diagnoses to wider awareness about the disease and more self-examination by women.
“Often when a friend is diagnosed, it prompts her friends to do a self-examination and have a mammogram,” Ms King said.
She said a woman’s risk of breast cancer increased with age, with most women diagnosed between 50 and 69 years.
Treatment outcomes continued to improve with the five-year survival rate of women diagnosed with breast cancer at more than 88 per cent.
Ms King said post-operative care could extend for five years with women contacted to see if they had any health issues.
Some women underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy and “we support women through the journey”, she said.
In other developments regarding SWH’s resources for breast cancer treatment, the hospital’s $141,000 appeal for a new reconstruction microscope has reached the halfway mark.
More than $70,000 has been raised so far for the reconstruction microscope that will save local women from having to go to Melbourne for breast cancer reconstruction surgery.
SWH is holding a Christmas Charity Night on December 15 at Club Warrnambool to raise further funds for the reconstruction microscope.