THERE’S been a spike in the number of locals diagnosed with breast cancer, who then are referred to the North West Breast Cancer Support Group.
This year so far there were 17 referrals to the support group. Last year there had been six.
The support group’s president Trish Olsen said the increase was due to the diagnoses detected by the BreastScreen Queensland mobile service bus, which had been based in Mount Isa for three months.
The increased diagnoses has increased the financial need for the support group, which provides $1500 to each person referred to the group.
“I think we gave out over $30,000 this year,” Ms Olsen said.
The money was important and made a difference to the wellbeing of people adjusting to treatment.It was up to the patient’s discretion to determine how those funds help them.
“When you’re diagnosed the first thing we think about is ‘I’ve got bills, I’ve got a job’,” she said.
“Cancer will hit anyone, they don’t look at your financial status.”
Patients need treatment in Townsville and when they are there for up to 10 weeks they are running two households, said Ms Olsen.
It’s the reason why fundraisers for the support group were important, including the upcoming Pink Ta Ta’s Fun Run. It’s the second year the run is held and last year it began after support group member Juanita Godwin, recently diagnosed, wanted to help the group.
She said it was important for people diagnosed because its care provided a more “human touch”.
She felt a bond to the group but did not want to call it a ‘sisterhood’ as it made it gender specific.
“Because men get it too (breast cancer) and I don’t want to make it all about women,” Mrs Godwin said.
They had raised more than $5000 from last year’s event. This year the event is held at Lake Moondarra on Sunday, September 24. Ms Olsen hopes that more awareness can be raised for the group as well as funds.
Mrs Godwin said that there had been almost three times more sponsorship support from the community this year. “People are happy that all the money raised stays in the north west.”