For the past five-and-a-half years Rebecca Chenery has been the region’s only breast care nurse.
Her job is to provide support and information on services for women living in Newcastle and the Lower Hunter who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, are having treatment and are post-treatment.
She is based at the Calvary Mater Newcastle at Waratah and her position is funded by the McGrath Foundation.
But it is a big job and Ms Chenery is looking forward to having another nurse to help provide support to many women in the Newcastle and the Lower Hunter with their breast cancer journey.
In August, the Greater Charitable Foundation, which is funded from the profits of Greater Bank, announced more than $250,000 in funding for the McGrath Foundation to employ a second breast care nurse based in Newcastle for two years.
“It is wonderful that the Greater Foundation has funded that,” Ms Chenery said.
“It is going to make a big difference to the patients being seen in the area.”
The McGrath Foundation was founded by the late Jane McGrath, wife of former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath, so women with breast cancer could have the support of specialised nurses.
“I was on the ward the other day and one lady said, ‘I’m glad I saw you, I feel much better now’,” Ms Chenery said. “It’s giving them information and making them feel more at ease and just letting them know that they can call on me if they need.”
Ms Chenery said in Hunter New England there were 850 new breast cancer diagnoses each year.
She also runs weekly and monthly support groups for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer or those who are having treatment or have had treatment.
They are at the Calvary Mater Newcastle and can help with services such as referals to physiotherapists or pscyhologists or information on where to get help with wigs, prostheses and bras.
More information on the support groups can be obtained through 4014 4752.
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month and more than $22,000 was raised to support local breast care nurses at the annual Breast Care Fundraising Breakfast at Wests New Lambton last week.
The sold-event breakfast was told the number of people being diagnosed with breast cancer had increased, but the chances of survival had improved significantly.