Health Supplier Segment: BCNA Cultural Diversity Program


Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guests: Fiona Patterson (Head of Programs) and Anna Higgs (Cultural Diversity Officer)
Guest Bios:  Fiona Patterson joined BCNA as Head of Programs in July 2014, following six years managing Victorian State Government policy and programs across Women’s Affairs, Youth and Community Development portfolios, and two years managing physical activity investment at the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

Anna Higgs has a background in Public Health and Health Promotion. Anna joined BCNA in mid-2014 as a Cultural Diversity Officer and has worked on the development of a range of key projects to provide appropriate and accessible information and support to women affected by breast cancer from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Segment overview: Representatives from the Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) discuss their Cultural Diversity Program in today’s segment. They recently developed new resources in five different languages for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds – these are the only breast cancer resources of their kind.


Health Professional Radio

HPR: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar. And my guests in studio this morning are from the Breast Cancer Network of Australia. They are Fiona Patterson Head of Programs and Anna Higgs Cultural Diversity Officer. Good morning to you both.

BCNA: Good morning. (Good morning Wayne.)

HPR: Now, tell me. Today we’re talking about the diverse cultural programs for women I assume who are coming from different cultural backgrounds.

BCNA: Yeah that’s correct Wayne.

HPR: What programs do you have in place for them?

BCNA: Sure. So BCNA has developed a cultural diversity for the last few years, since late 2012. So we began by doing some research and consultation with the cancer, breast cancer and most cultural sector to find out what information and support we have currently available for women, from diverse cultural background who are affected by breast cancer here in Australia. And it was very clear that there was a gap in Australia for information and support for women. And we’re being diagnosed with breast cancer in their own language.

HPR: Is this just a language issue or are there other bigger issues as well?

BCNA: Yeah. There are bigger issues also. So there are a lot misconceptions and stigma that are occurring in many different cultures around cancer and breast cancer as well. But to address the needs of women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, we’re wanting to provide them with the information that is preventive in a way that is accessible to them and appropriate to them so that they can make information choices about their own treatment and care.

HPR: I see.

BCNA: So we’re taking that by a number of different projects that we’re working on. So the first project that we have worked on is the development of a series of printed information resources. So we are focusing on five languages at the moment. So we’re looking at Arabic, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, and Chinese languages. So we’ve developed a series of bilingual resources so they’re available in English and the language within the same booklet. And we’ve covered four topics to start with and these are the key information that women told us they would like to receive in their language at the time of their diagnosis. So we spoke to women from each of these language group. So our first theory of booklet covered about breast cancer. So that “what is cancer? What causes cancer? And the different types of breast cancer.” There is also a book called “Breast Cancer Treatment” so that covers information about the different treatment that are available and potential side effects. Also support that may help so that covers practical support that is available to women. So things like accessing public library or receiving financial support during your breast cancer diagnosis. We also have a booklet called “Message a Hope and Support.” So women told us that they wanted to hear from other women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

HPR: That’s an extraordinarily wide range of support. Let me just check if I’ve got this right. So about breast cancer, treatment for breast cancer, support available, and hope and support – all in did I hear 5 languages?

BCNA: That is correct.

HPR: In case you just joined us, you’re listening to Wayne Bucklar on Health Professional Radio. I’m a little remised for not having mention earlier. My guest Fiona Patterson and Anna Higgs from the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and we’ve been talking about what the Breast Cancer Network of Australia has been doing to support women with breast cancer from diverse cultural backgrounds. And we’ve just been discussing a range of printed information resources. So tell me more.

BCNA: The resources are also available as audio files, so they’re sent out with 5 copies of the resources on a CD. And they’re also available on our website, so although a woman may speak Italian for example, which is her skill may not be very high, in which case she can listen to the information.

HPR: And that audio was in their native languages as well I assume?

BCNA: That’s right. So it’s available in Arabic, Italian, Greek, Vietnamese, and Cantonese, and Mandarin.

HPR: So I guess to take our message here is that if you are a medical practitioner or a nurse in the health system or in fact if you’re just a member of the public and you’ve got friends who are suffering from breast cancer who are from diverse cultural backgrounds, you need to or either pop into the BCNA website for them, or support, encourage them to go to the BCNA website to get these printed and audio resources in their native language. Now the website is

BCNA: That’s right Wayne. And Wayne, we really rely on health professionals, particularly breast care nurses to make the connection with women from diverse background. So it’s really important for us to get the word out about these resources. And we’ve been doing a lot of work with different groups of health professionals but also agencies representing different multicultural health services to try to get the word out through local papers, maybe the Italian paper, the Greek paper, just we really want to spread the word about these resources so that as many as people as possible can benefit from them.

HPR: It does sound like one of those campaigns that would benefit enormously for a bit of social media support. So again, if you’re involved in the health system and you know people from different cultural backgrounds who have been diagnosed with breast cancer or you’ve got friends of friends of friends on Facebook or LinkedIn. How about posting the story there? Because that’s one way that the world will get through those communities very quickly.

BCNA: Sounds like a great idea. We’d appreciate any help we can get.

HPR: Now what we’ll do is we’ll put up a transcript of this interview if you just caught the end of it. We’ll put up both the text transcript and an audio transcript on our website, but we’ll also post it up on Facebook and LinkedIn and if you see it there please share with your friends because we need this word out in to those non-English speaking culturally diverse communities so that people are aware of the resources. Fiona and Anna, it’s been lovely talking with you this morning. Is there anything else that’s happening that we need to know about?

BCNA: Look, we’ve got a few other things happening in the cultural diversity space Wayne. Just that we recently re-launched our corporate website and we’ve actually got quite a lot of content in language, in like five key languages on our website. So that’s been a really important step for us to improving our online communication. We’re also in the process of training women from diverse cultural backgrounds to be local spokes people for BCNA and we call those ‘community liaisons’ and they’re a network of women right across Australia who share their story and provide that important in-person connection set for women in that community who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. So we’re really working at expanding our reach to different cultural communities through programs like that. We also have a network of just over 300 member group across Australia and their local peer support group where we maintain, speak to each other and provide that in-person support. And we’ve recently signed up six new support groups who are particularly servicing the needs of different diverse communities. So again, it’s a way that we’re trying to expand our reach in-person and online to reach these communities.

HPR: It does sound like you’ve been exceedingly busy and it is always good to hear from the Breast Cancer Network of Australia because of its extraordinary work that you do. And one of the things we can do to help is to keep the health practitioner network up to date in our audience. Once again, can you give us that website because that’s the key I think for people who want to get in touch?

BCNA: Certainly. It’s but you can also call 1800-500-258

HPR: Now whenever someone puts a phone number on the radio, I’m always the one who can’t find the pencil. So here’s your due warning listeners, find your pencils now and that number again was?

BCNA: 1800-500-258. And we also have access to the National Translation and Interpreting Service if people call and need an interpreter.

HPR: Splendid. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guests this morning have been Fiona Patterson Head of Program and Anna Higgs Cultural Diversity Officer with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia. A transcript of these interviews are available on our website at And at SoundCloud sound archive is also available the links together on the same website.

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