Thursday, September 11, 2008

$400 govt rebates for breast prostheses

Women who have had a mastectomy can now claim $400 from Medicare for breast prostheses.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the government would invest $31 million on the rebates available to anyone who has bought a new or replacement external breast prosthesis since July 1 this year.

Women seeking reimbursement can lodge claims from now and Medicare will start payments from December 1.

"Around 12,000 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year," Ms Roxon said on Tuesday.

"Breast prostheses help to restore body image and self-esteem after surgery for breast cancer."

The government also has given $12 million to the McGrath Foundation to recruit, train and employ 30 new breast cancer nurses.

"The majority of these nurses will be located in rural and regional areas and in areas where there is currently no access to a breast cancer nurse," Ms Roxon said.

The nurses will provide information, support and care coordination to women with breast cancer and their families.

The McGrath Foundation was co-founded in 2002 by Jane and Glenn McGrath, after Jane's initial recovery from breast cancer.

Jane McGrath died from cancer in June this year.

Australian Medical Association president Rosanna Capolingua welcomed the federal funding, saying until now women with breast cancer in different states received varying levels of support for breast prostheses.

"In some states the support has been low, making it very difficult for a woman who has had a mastectomy from breast cancer to manage that part of her recovery," she said.

"This program will make a significant difference to the quality of life of many breast cancer survivors."


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