While the world is fighting the invasive coronavirus, breast cancer is still the most common cancer for Australian women, after for non-melanoma skin cancer.
In WA, women have 1 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 75 and it is the second high cause of cancer death, according to Cancer Council WA.
This year in Australia, an alternative way of receiving cancer treatment has been growing in popularity due to adapting to COVID-19.
According to the latest report, COVID-19 Recovery: Implications for cancer care, released by Cancer Australia, there has been 50 to 80 per cent increase in patients seeking chemotherapy at home during the pandemic.
Cancer Australia chief executive Dorothy Keefe says the new report identifies changes in cancer care, such as telehealth and a new emphasis on oncology treatments in the home.
Receiving cancer treatment at home not only helps patients practice social distancing, but also reduces their exposure to other hospital patients.
Chemo@home co-founder and company director Lorna Cook agrees patients having their chemotherapy at home experience less fatigue and costs associated with travel, which helps reduce the risk of them catching illnesses such as colds, flu and COVID-19.
“Overall the costs of cancer care are less in the home, as the service has less overheads than a traditional hospital. Chemo@home does not have to pay out-of-pocket expenses if patients have private health insurance, and there are options for public patients to have their treatment without cost,” she says.
“There is data showing that they have less anxiety, fatigue and nausea. Patients feel more empowered and safer because they are in their own environment.”
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign that aims at raising awareness among people of all age and delivering the message of staying healthy and avoiding breast cancer.