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Breast care nurses explore new horizons

Wednesday 11 February, 2009

Breast care nurses throughout Australasia will be linked at a national conference that will update them with the latest skills and knowledge to be opened by the Minister for Health, the Hon. Daniel Andrews.

Themed ‘New Horizons for Breast Care Nurses', the conference will feature key international speaker Professor Kinta Beaver who is a Professor of Nursing. Prof Beaver has a clinical background in surgical nursing, breast and stoma care.

Cancer Council Helpline Deputy Director, Dr Amanda Hordern, said the conference would provide a theatre for debate and education regarding the role of the Breast Care Nurse throughout the continuum of treatment.

"The conference program has been designed to stimulate and challenge nurses who have been nursing for several years," Dr Hordern said. "It will also provide a good overview for new breast care nurses and explore issues beyond treating the physical aspects of cancer and will discuss living with changes of breast cancer."

Latest statistics indicate breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Australia with 2,707 female deaths.

"It is important however that conferences such as this continue to thrive as the age-standardised rate of deaths due to breast cancer continues to fall dramatically," Dr Hordern said.

*"In 1990 this was at 30.6 deaths per 100, 000 females and decreased to 23.7 deaths per 100, 000 females in 2005; a fall of around 2 per cent per annum," she said.

The national conference, the 11th of its nature, will highlight the importance of the Breast Care Nurse at any stage of the breast cancer experience, including diagnosis, recurrence or palliation.

Cancer Council Victoria is collaborating with Breast Care Nurses from the Epworth Hospital and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre to bring this conference to the nursing community.

The National Breast Care Nurses Conference - New Horizons for Breast Care Nurses - will be held at The Sebel & Citigate Albert Park, Melbourne on 11-13 February 2009.

The McGrath Foundation will also be presenting at the conference about where the funding they received last year will be going.

*World Standard Population gives 1990 and 2005 rates of 20.5 and 15.5 respectively. Above rates are standardised to Australian 2001 Population.

Guest speaker background:

Kinta Beaver is Professor of Nursing, jointly appointed between the University of Manchester's School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work and Central Manchester and Manchester Children's Hospital University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Kinta has a Bachelors degree in Psychology, a Masters degree in Research and a PhD in Nursing. She trained as a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in the UK with a clinical background in surgical nursing, breast and stoma care. She has a long history of research work that investigates the decision making preferences and information needs of people with cancer.

Recent collaborative work with colleagues in Malaysia and Australia led to a publication that received the 'Cancer Nursing' annual research award for best paper in 2005, comparing the information needs of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Malaysia and the UK. Collaborative work is also ongoing with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, Canada. Studies have also focused on service provision for people with terminal illness, palliative care needs and research dissemination for oncology nurses and clinical nurse specialists.

In 2001 Kinta was awarded a Special Training Fellowship in Health Services Research by the Medical Research Council. The Fellowship allowed for the development of research ideas on follow-up care for women with breast cancer.

A randomised controlled trial comparing telephone and hospital follow-up for women with breast cancer, using the skills of specialist nurses, has recently reached completion.

This study represents a radical and innovative way of providing follow-up care that meets the information and psycho-social needs of patients. Similar studies on nurse-led follow-up for patients with colorectal and lung cancer area also ongoing.

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