Posted on 17. Jun, 2010 in News

A groundbreaking pilot project at the Royal Melbourne Hospital is giving women renewed hope in their fight against cancer with the support of trained volunteers.

Visiting the hospital today, Health Minister Daniel Andrews officially launched The Bridge of Support pilot project between BreaCan and the combined Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital Breast Service, which will see specially-trained volunteers provide bedside counselling and support services for women being treated for breast cancer.

“This innovative new pilot project will provide the most compassionate support to women receiving treatment for breast cancer,” Mr Andrews said.

“Each week, BreaCan volunteers are available to talk to women undergoing chemotherapy, surgery or attending the outpatient clinic. These trained volunteers make a remarkable difference to the health and wellbeing of women dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.

“Drawing from their own battles with cancer, BreaCan volunteers convey a message of hope for women on their cancer journey. Women can talk freely about their concerns and fears, including the impact on family members, self image and their loss of confidence and the effects of chemotherapy.”

The pilot project started in April and will run until September next year.

Mr Andrews said the pilot demonstrated a strong commitment to meet the needs of women with cancer. 

“This project recognises the need to go beyond clinical care and provides a holistic approach to supporting women and their families both during and after treatment,” he said.

“I’d like to congratulate the volunteers and team at BreaCan, who together with their colleagues from the hospitals’ breast service, are extending care to women at a difficult point in their cancer treatment.

BreaCan was established in 2003 by the Brumby Labor Government in collaboration with Victorians affected by breast cancer. In May 2007 the service was expanded to provide support to women who have a gynaecological cancer. 

The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital Breast Service sees around 200 cases of breast cancer each year.

Mr Andrews said the Brumby Labor Government’s $150 million Victorian Cancer Action Plan invested in innovative research, prevention, support and treatment strategies to improve care and save lives.

“Cancer is a top priority for our Government and our plan aims to increase cancer survival rates for Victorians by a further 10 per cent by 2015. This exciting pilot project supports that by empowering patients and their carers throughout their cancer journey.”

More information on cancer projects:

Minister of Health Daniel Andrews:

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