A CANCER support group on the Bellarine is providing relief, reassurance and encouragement for people living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Beyond Pink formed back in 2019 after it became clear there was a need for locals to connect with others sharing the lived experience
Group convenor Judy Margolis said metastatic breast cancer was breast cancer that had spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body, most often the bones, lungs, liver or, less commonly, the brain or skin.
“MBC is also referred to as stage IV (4) breast cancer, secondary or advanced breast cancer – all these terms mean the same,” Ms Margolis said.
“MBC is treatable but not curable, and it can affect women and men.
“Some are diagnosed years after their diagnosis with primary/early stage breast cancer, some are diagnosed ‘de novo’ at the same time as the primary breast tumour is found.”
Judy said diagnosis with terminal illness was literally shocking.
“Our sense of identity, our self-confidence, our hopes and plans for the future are all suddenly thrown into disarray,” she said.
“We may experience grief, anger, fear and isolation.”
Judy said as soon as the idea of Beyond Pink was discussed with others in cancer support services, it became clear that a local MBC support group would be welcomed.
“From that small beginning, the group has grown in strength and resilience,” she said.
“We welcome new members, grieve for members who have died.
“We adjusted to the challenges of COVID, using technology to help us stay connected with each other.
“We continue to support each other through the highs and lows of illness, treatment, side effects, the anxiety and exhaustion of endless appointments, tests and scans, the enormous impacts of MBC on relationships and daily life.
“Beyond Pink provides support, information and resources for people living with metastatic breast cancer across the Bellarine and Geelong.”
Judy said the group aimed to raise awareness of MBC in the community, and to make sure that every person diagnosed with MBC in the region knew that local support was available.
She said group members met regularly face-to-face and on Zoom, as well as being in contact via phone, email, through the Beyond Pink website and on Facebook.
“We hold live events to connect with the community,” she said.
“Printed material about Beyond Pink is widely distributed and the group maintains links with other cancer support services both in our region and in Melbourne.”
Beyond Pink also extends support to the partners and carers of group members.
For more information head to beyondpink.com.au.