Breast Care Nurse: A hand to hold through a tough journey
EMOTIONAL, psychological and physical support is paramount for any woman battling breast cancer, that is where McGrath Breast Care Nurse Megan Lynch steps in.
Megan has been nursing for over 30 years and has had significant experience in specialist breast care nursing.
She has stepped into her new role, funded by the McGrath foundation, in the cancer care services part of Hervey Bay Hospital.
"It's definitely an areas of need, it's a time when women are vulnerable," Megan said.
"I think that having someone with a bit of knowledge and passion and can help them navigate the system and get them the help they need is very important."
Megan helps breast cancer patients and their families through every stage of their journey, helping them make tough decisions about the best options for them to beat the disease.
"The demand is growing every year, we're getting more and more referrals for breast cancer," she said.
"We get notified through a surgical team or breast screen Queensland that they've been diagnosed, prior to surgery, and then we continue to have contact with them.
"Once they've received the result of surgery and if they need further treatment we can see them through the rest of the journey, enabling them to have the knowledge to make the decision themselves."
The McGrath Breast Care Nurse role in Hervey Bay was originally established in 2009 and has since supported over 800 families in the region.
"I think it's a very valuable position to be sitting in," she said.
"...I see the one difference I make as having a meaningful relationship with the patient and their family where they can rely on me to be there for them."
McGrath Foundation Ambassador & Director, Tracy Bevan, is ecstatic about the number of families that have been supported in the community.
"It is wonderful to know that our hard-working McGrath Breast Care Nurses have been able to benefit such a variety of families who can do with their support," Tracy said.
"These nurses act as a patient advocate; they coordinate care not only for women with breast cancer, but also for the families and carers. To date our 105 McGrath Breast Care Nurses have helped support over 36,000 Australian families."
It costs about $380,000 to place a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in the community for a three year period.