Stay abreast of signs and symptoms this October

Date: 18/10/2021

More than 50 Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day.

As one of the country's largest private providers, Cabrini continues to be a leader in comprehensive cancer care. Our team understands every cancer case is different and requires a coordinated and individualised approach based on personal circumstances.

We also have an experienced and passionate team of breast care nurses, who are committed to improve the continuity of care for women.

Alison Murphy and Bronwyn Flanagan are two of Cabrini’s dedicated Breast Care Nurse Consultants.

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we spoke to Alison and Bronwyn about their roles, why awareness of breast cancer is so important and what the month of October means to them.

Alison, who has worked at Cabrini for almost 20 years, started as a breast care nurse nine years ago.

She said she’d been working on the surgical ward for about nine years and had always enjoyed looking after the patients having surgery for breast cancer.

After completing a course in breast cancer care and oncology nursing, a position became available.

“Providing up-to-date information and supportive care is really important,” Alison said.

“I like dealing with the women, you can develop a rapport with these women quite quickly – after all, they are women just like us. I have a desire to make life a bit more tolerable for them.

“Cabrini also provides great allied health support, physiotherapists onsite and our in-house rehabilitation program, the wig room service, great oncology staff, pastoral care support and access to psychological support services.”

Bronwyn, who has worked at Cabrini for the past seven and a half years but has been a breast care nurse for more than 20 years, said they saw patients before surgery and chemotherapy, during chemotherapy treatment and in the hospital after surgery.

“We are often the link between the patient and the hospital or the doctors,” Bronwyn said.

“I like that we are there to help. The patients are in and out of the hospital quite quickly but we are always here. We give the more supportive side of care to patients. We make sure they have the resources at home to help with their recovery.

“It is a very, very rewarding job and we are very fortunate that Cabrini supports these roles for our patients. I think we provide a very good service to the patients and they know we are here, it’s comprehensive.”

When it comes to raising awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, their message is simple: get checked.

“Our focus is on encouraging women to have their two-yearly mammogram and to be aware of any changes to their breasts, and if there’s anything out of the ordinary go and see your GP,” Alison said.

“It’s about going to the doctor early and not waiting. If you notice something, act on it,” Bronwyn added.

The pair said signs to look out for included any changes to the breast at all, from dimples to thickening of the skin or colour changes.

“Any breast changes could be cancer, but they also may not be. It’s worth going to find out.”

For more information on breast cancer services at Cabrini, go to www.cabrini.com.au/cancer