Women with questions about breast cancer risk, signs and symptoms can call a new advice line and talk directly to a breastcare nurse.
0800 BC NURSE (0800 2268773) is run by the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, with specialist breastcare nurse Janice Wood answering calls on the new line.
“There’s a huge amount of advice about breast cancer on the internet, but not all of it is good quality information,” says Janice. “I’m here to help women diagnosed with breast cancer who might be struggling to process the volume of information from doctors, but also to talk to well women wanting to know more about breast cancer risk and prevention.”
Women’s breast cancer risk rises sharply from age 45, with 70% of diagnoses occurring in women 50+. The incidence of breast cancer continues to rise until women are in their late 60s, and though it tails off slightly after that, many women don’t realise that they have as high a risk in their 70s as they did in their 50s. The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation recommends women continue having two-yearly mammograms as they grow older.
The 0800 BC NURSE service will answer questions about breast cancer risk, signs and symptoms, and advise on lifestyle changes that can lower risk, such as reducing alcohol intake, keeping fit and maintaining a healthy post-menopausal BMI.
Friends and family of breast cancer patients are welcome to phone in for advice on how they can support someone through breast cancer.
“Sometimes family need help understanding a person’s test results or treatment options. Often they don’t want to bombard their loved one with questions they might not be able to answer,” says Janice.
For women wanting more information, Janice Wood will send out a range of free resources that have been approved by the Foundation’s medical advisory committee.
Contact Janice Wood on 0800 BC NURSE (0800 2268773) from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.