This year alone, 19,807 women and 167 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia.
As Australia’s most diagnosed form of cancer, we all need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer as early detection is vital.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and at Monash Health, we are proud of the outstanding teams of nurses, doctors, specialists and surgeons we have working in breast services.
Caring for women and men with Breast Cancer is a job filled with highs and lows and it takes special people to help patients navigate what is an incredibly challenging and emotional experience.
One of these special people is Katie Evans.
Katie has been working as an oncology and breast care nurse at Monash Health for 20 years and is currently a McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse at Dandenong and Casey Hospital.
She says every day on the job is unique, and that you never know what’s going to come through the phone.
“Sometimes I’m checking in with patients to make sure they’re ready for surgery or visiting when they come out, other days I’m heading to their appointments with them as a support.”
Katie explained that as a Breast Care Nurse, one of the biggest parts of her job is being a reliable touch point and support person throughout a patient’s treatment.
“Our patients are meeting with lots of clinicians to talk about different aspects of their prognosis and treatment. We provide some continuity for them and we’re always there when they need to ask questions.”
Katie never expected her 20th year on the job to look like it has in 2020.
While she is usually working face-to-face with her clients, COVID-19 has meant that a lot of her correspondence with clients is now over the phone and she says she is proud of the way her patients and team have adapted to these changes.
However, she is concerned about the significant decline in people having breast screens since the beginning of the pandemic.
“People are presenting late to hospitals and GP’s because they’re worried about COVID-19, but please, if you have a breast cancer symptom, do not delay”
“Early detection is vital. Know the signs and act quickly.”
In January this year, Katie was nominated to represent Monash Health and the McGrath Foundation with her patient Elle May at the Sydney Cricket Ground as a part of the Pink Test.
Watch the McGrath Foundation’s video about the impact that Katie had on Elle May’s treatment below.