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The Role of McGrath Breast Care Nurses

The role of a specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurse is to support patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a disease where abnormal cells in the breast grow out of control and metastatic breast cancer is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with more than 19,974 Australians diagnosed in 2020.1 Breast cancer can also affect men, although it is rare.

Treatment advances, improved screening and multidisciplinary care have resulted in improved survival rates for breast cancer patients.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are registered nurses who are specially trained to manage the care of people with breast cancer throughout the course of their treatment.

Their role is to provide individualised, patient-centred care for patients after diagnosis and during the various stages of breast cancer and recovery.

They facilitate continuity of care, assisting patients and their families to navigate their way through the process by providing:

  • physical, psychological and emotional support
  • coordination of treatment with specialists
  • patient advocacy
  • referrals for counselling and support groups
  • enhanced communication between multidisciplinary care teams

Breast cancer patients often have many questions, such as what their options for treatment are and what to expect during different aspects of treatment. The role of Breast Care Specialist Nurses is to provide accurate, up-to-date education, information and advice.

The aim of the McGrath Breast Care Nurse service is to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction.

The McGrath Foundation raises money to fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities across Australia.

Dawn Johnson and Paula Melville are McGrath Breast Care Nurses based at Hollywood Private Hospital. This free service is available without a doctor’s referral at Hollywood Private Hospital.

1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Cancer data in Australia. Cat. no. CAN 122. Canberra: AIHW. Accessed June 2021; www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia

Dawn Johnson and Paula Melville