Breast Care Nurses always supporting those in need
Published at: 04 Oct 2019
Getting diagnosed with breast cancer is a scary and nerve-wracking experience.
But GV Health’s breast care nurses are there to lend a hand and support breast cancer patients through their diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.
McGrath/GV Health Breast Care Nurse Michelle Parish has been in the role for a decade, providing a familiar face during a stressful time.
She was joined by GV Health breast care nurse Melissa Gilmour over two years ago with the pair job-sharing, supporting patients throughout the Goulburn Valley district.
“Michelle services the outer shires such as Strathbogie and Moira,” Ms Gilmour said.
“While my role is primarily servicing the Greater Shepparton community.
“We’re quite lucky that we can provide a five-day-a-week service.”
The pair said their roles involved supporting families of those who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“A lot of the role is providing psychological support,” Ms Parish said.
“We provide them with the correct information in relation to them,” Ms Gilmour added.
“We work with a multi-disciplinary team with oncologists, psychologists, social workers, dietitians and much more,” Ms Parish said.
The women stressed that all patients’ cancer journeys were different and every individual went through their own experience.
For this reason, often their care involved tailoring a pathway that suited the patient’s lifestyle.
“Everyone needs different support,” Ms Gilmour said.
The nurses said they serviced both GV Health patients as well as private patients in the district.
They said many patients thought they could not access the support if they received their treatment or had surgery in Melbourne which Ms Parish said was not the case.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ms Parish said it was important to be breast aware but encouraged people to do so throughout the entire year.
“We encourage you to do a monthly breast check and if you do find a change don’t be afraid to get it checked out,” she said.
“Follow your gut; most people’s gut instincts are spot on,” Ms Gilmour added.
They said while the majority of people diagnosed were women aged over 60 years, breast cancer affected both women and men, young and old.
“We do see men here,” Ms Parish said.
“I’ve treated five men in the last 10 years.”
They urged women aged over 50 who received a letter in the mail to seek out the free breast screen service offered every two years.
Ms Gilmour said those aged 40 to 50 years were eligible for a free mammogram every two years but would need to book an appointment as they would not receive a letter in the mail.
The women said their support was a free service and breast cancer patients could also self-refer by phoning GV Health’s Oncology Department on 5832 3777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
To read about patient Diane Eddy's breast cancer story click here.