Nurse-led cancer clinic - a Gympie Hospital first - Wishlist Org
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Nurse-led cancer clinic – a Gympie Hospital first

24th August, 2016

For the first time, Gympie patients can now attend a nurse-led breast cancer review clinic.

With one in eight Queensland women developing breast cancer at some stage in their life, the new clinic represents a significant boost to local oncology services.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service is providing review appointments to complement specialist management and to provide more holistic care to patients that emphasises psychosocial and physical effects of a patient’s diagnosis and treatment.

Gympie Hospital McGrath Breast Care Nurse Sharon Shelford said, thanks to a Wishlist grant in February this year, she was able to purchase a MammaCare Professional Learning System to teach other health professionals to conduct clinical breast examinations.

Sharon Shelford McGrath Breast Care Nurse with patient  Julie Sparreboom, and Oncology Nurse Unit Manager Deanne Mitchell.
Sharon Shelford McGrath Breast Care Nurse with patient Julie Sparreboom, and Oncology Nurse Unit Manager Deanne Mitchell.

“We can now spend more time with patients and their families, and provide follow-up from the consultant specialist with physical, psychological and emotional support – from the time of diagnosis and right through treatment,” Ms Shelford said.

“Because a nurse-led cancer review clinic is not as time-limited, we can allow more time for the appointment. It allows not only a clinical assessment, but also a comprehensive needs assessment of a person’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, things that are so crucial to patient wellbeing.

“This includes providing practical help with prostheses, returning to work, finding a new ‘normal’, and assessing any late effects of treatment,” she said.

When 58-year-old Julie Sparreboom was checking her breasts two years ago, she was not prepared for the shock of seeing what looked like dimpling or a lump in her breast.

After visiting her doctor, Ms Sparreboom was told she had breast cancer and would need a mastectomy.

“I was devastated; I went for further tests and had a mastectomy in July 2014. I was then further shocked after my mastectomy when the next lot of results revealed I would need chemotherapy and radiation,” Ms Sparreboom said.

“In July 2015 I chose to have my other breast removed. I could not go through that all again and I wanted to reduce the risk of it happening a second time,” she said.

Ms Sparreboom is now booked to be the first patient at the nurse-led follow up clinic at Gympie Hospital, as part of the enhanced patient-centred service.

Breast cancer patient Julie Sparreboom.
Breast cancer patient Julie Sparreboom.

“I look forward to discussing any fears and emotions with the nurse,” Ms Sparreboom said.

“My advice to the community is to please, please have regular breast screens, and if you find a lump in your breast, act on it immediately! Cancer can happen to anybody,” she said.

There is no need for women to put off having a breast screen – it’s quick, simple, convenient, free and a doctor’s referral is not required, Ms Shelford added.

Phone BreastScreen Queensland Sunshine Coast Service on 13 20 50 for an appointment or for more information.