Common media questions
What is YWCA Australia?
ywca encore is a national program of the YWCA of Australia. YWCA Australia is the national association for YWCAs in Australia. The YWCA is a global network of women leading social and economic change in over 120 countries and reaching 25 million people worldwide.
Through our member associations, we offer a range of programs aimed at developing women’s leadership, supporting women and girls, their families and communities at critical times in their lives, and promoting gender equality. YWCAs provide programs and services to more than a quarter of a million people across Australia each year. To find out more about YWCA Australia visit the YWCA Australia website.
What is ywca encore?
ywca encore is a free eight- week program of specially designed gentle exercise, relaxation, support and information for women who have experienced breast cancer at any time in their life.
ywca encore helps women with the after-effects of breast cancer surgery and treatment, helping to restore strength, mobility and flexibility, confidence and general wellbeing. Operating in Australia for over 25 years, ywca encore has already helped thousands of Australian women. There are ywca encore programs in all Australian states and territories.
What are the common effects of breast cancer surgery?
The physical and emotional side effects of breast cancer treatment and surgery (mastectomy, lumpectomy and/or breast reconstruction) can be debilitating. Physical symptoms include numbness, pins and needles, a loss of mobility and strength and discomfort in the upper body. Simple things like pegging the washing and carrying children can become difficult. A reduced self image, self esteem and enjoyment of life are also common, with many women feeling that no one understands exactly what they are going through.
This is where the ywca encore program steps in. The gentle floor and water-based exercises in the program are specifically designed to deal with the common physical symptoms after surgery, such as pins and needles, reduced movement and flexibility in the arms and shoulders. The program also addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of experiencing breast cancer.
What is unique about ywca encore?
ywca encore is more than an exercise program.
ywca encore is unique in its approach, dealing with both the physical and psychosocial impacts of breast cancer. The program makes women feel stronger physically and reduces discomfort, while allowing them to share experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
The ywca encoreprogram often steps in at a time when women feel particularly isolated - the time between the end of formal breast cancer treatment and before their first check up, usually a few months later.
The program complements other support services but is unique in its approach and design as it is designed by women for women and is usually held in a non-medical setting.
What is the history of ywca encore?
ywca encore was originally developed in the USA in the 1970s by ballet teacher, Helen Clines Kohut. Helen had experienced breast cancer herself and saw the need to help other women with similar experiences to rebuild their physical and emotional strength.
The program was set up and expanded through YWCA USA with funding from Avon's Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade. ywca encore came to Australia in 1983 2008 saw YWCA Australia celebrate 25 years of ywca encore in Australia.
The ywca encore program also operates in New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Japan.
What are the breast cancer statistics in Australia?
According to Breast Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2009 produced by the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre:
- Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women, accounting for 28% of all cancer diagnoses in 2006.
- One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85
- The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia increased from 5,289 in 1982 to 12,614 in 2006.
- By 2015, the number of new breast cancer cases among women is projected to be 22% higher than in 2006, with an estimated 15,409 women expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
For more information visit the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre website