Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and we are pleased to welcome Australia’s third dedicated metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Jenny Macindoe, into her role at Peninsula Health’s Frankston Hospital, in south east Melbourne. Jenny is the third dedicated metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse in Australia. The McGrath Foundation is committed to providing support to families experiencing breast cancer, and the needs of people diagnosed with metastatic (also known as secondary or advanced) breast cancer which differ to those diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer refers to the stage of cancer that is incurable ‘ when it has spread beyond the primary tumour site of the breast to other parts of the body. The focus of treatment is on prolonging life and ensuring the quality of life is as high as possible. Despite the five year survival rate for breast cancer now sitting at 90 per cent, once breast cancer metastasises or spreads to other organs, the five year survival rate drops to approximately 25 per cent.
Jenny’s role is the first dedicated metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse in Victoria. Jenny’s specialist role, together with that of her metastatic colleagues in Perth and Canberra, provides not only unique care to people with metastatic breast cancer and their families, but to the other McGrath Breast Care Nurses across Australia, as they also support metastatic patients.
Jenny said her role is to support the person with metastatic breast cancer and their family, rather than treating the cancer. ‘My passion is supporting people who have an incurable disease by providing an outlet outside the family unit with whom patients can express their concerns. I also offer the most relevant and up-to-date medical information based on their individual needs and circumstance,’ said Jenny.
The McGrath Foundation’s Keeping Abreast of Future Need: A report into the growing demand for breast care nurses found there is currently a gap in services of 14 breast care nurses in South Eastern Melbourne; approximately 960 people will be diagnosed with primary breast cancer in 2016 and 140 will be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (a total of 1,100 breast cancer diagnoses in South Eastern Melbourne). Jenny’s appointment will help support the South Eastern Melbourne region but there is still much work to be done.
According to Petra Buchanan, CEO of the McGrath Foundation, ‘While we know that many more breast cancer nurses are needed in Australia, we are thrilled to support a dedicated metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse alongside the existing 24 McGrath Breast Care Nurses in Victoria.
‘The needs of patients with metastatic breast cancer are really very specific and the demand for this support is growing,’ continued Petra.
McGrath Breast Care Nurses act as a patient advocate; they coordinate care not only for people with breast cancer, but also for their families and carers. Since 2005 the McGrath Foundation has supported more than 49,000 families experiencing breast cancer.
Families in the Frankston and surrounding communities can access this free service by contacting Jenny Macindoe on 03 9788 1754 or email JMacindoe@phcn.vic.gov.au.