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In Australia, 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime¹. From diagnosis right throughout treatment, McGrath Breast Care Nurses bring peace of mind to the patient and family through expert knowledge, personal care, and genuine compassion - for free and without a referral. By going Dry this July for the McGrath Foundation, you will be helping to ensure that no one goes through breast cancer without the care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

What is a McGrath Breast Care Nurse? McGrath Breast Care Nurses provide invaluable support and care to women and men experiencing breast cancer. From diagnosis right throughout treatment, the individual and their families are supported for free, and a doctor’s referral isn’t needed. A breast cancer diagnosis changes people’s lives, often in ways you wouldn’t expect. The impact can be felt right through their network of family and friends. They can help create time in someone’s life not defined by breast cancer.

Together, we can make a difference this Dry July! Proceeds from Dry July will help support the McGrath Foundation fund McGrath Breast Care Nurses, who provide care to people experiencing breast cancer. Funding for 73 more McGrath Breast Care Nurses is needed to ensure that no one misses out on the care of a McGrath Breast Care Nurse. McGrath Foundation research² shows early access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse significantly improves the experience and outcomes of a person with breast cancer.

Source - 1. Deloitte Access Economics analysis of McGrath Breast Care Nurse Data and 2016 Census Data 2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2021. Cancer data in Australia. Cat. No. CAN 122. Canberra: AIHW. Accessed June 2021; https://www.aihw.gove.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia

Latest Updates


Danny's Story

An avid hiker and alcohol free for nearly eight years, Danny never expected to have breast cancer. But in late 2019, the unexpected became reality, when what Danny thought was a benign cyst in his chest was officially diagnosed as breast cancer.

Danny, 46 years old, has always lived a busy and active lifestyle, living by the beach in Rye and spending time with his family and friends. For years there had been a small lump in the left side of his chest, which he had had checked out previously and was dismissed as nothing to worry about. When he was back at the doctor a few years later, Danny thought he may as well get it looked at again while he was there, eventually leading to an ultrasound and biopsy.

It was on Christmas Eve in 2019 that his GP called to tell him the devastating news that he had breast cancer. Danny immediately launched into twelve months of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery to remove lymph nodes. Unfortunately, 12 months later there was a recurrence of the cancer in his bones, with oligometastatic disease in his shoulder blade and hip. Metastatic breast cancer is when the primary cancer has spread beyond the breast. Oligometastatic disease is when there is a low disease burden, with the presence of between one and five metastases (lesions, spots or tumours) only.

Danny has a very positive mindset and has benefitted from the evolving treatment landscape for metastatic breast cancer. “I only had two small spots on bones which have been treated with local therapies. I hang on to hope that I’ll be cured, and in fact I believe very strongly that I will be one day.”

While no cancer experience is easy, Danny has been determined to keep living life as he always has. Just recently he completed the Overland Track in Tasmania with his daughter, a feat not for the faint of heart. Danny has also been alcohol free for nearly eight years and believes he is in a much better state to handle his breast cancer because of it.

After his cancer recurrence, Danny was introduced to Metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse Jenny, who has been there to guide him through his treatment. Jenny has answered any questions he has, helped schedule appointments, and decoded complex medical advice - so that Danny can focus on living his life with his family.

Metastatic McGrath Breast Care Nurse Jenny on Danny

Jenny met Danny in mid-2021, when his cancer had metastasised and he was dealing with a life-long prognosis. Despite the shock of his cancer recurring, Jenny was impressed with how Danny has taken everything in his stride and participates whole heartedly in his care.

“He’s a real thinker. Danny always likes to be well informed every step of the way and I’m glad I can be there to answer his questions. He’s not letting the cancer slow him down. He even did the Overland Track while on oral chemotherapy, the first of my patients to have ever done that, that’s for sure!”

Kathleen's Story

Since watching her sister go through breast cancer eight years ago, Kathleen has been scrupulous about having her breasts checked every year, never missing a mammogram or ultrasound.

However, two years ago her right breast blew up in size and Kathleen went straight back to her GP, having had her mammogram only a few months before, where nothing had been detected. Sadly, upon that next visit, triple negative breast cancer in her right breast was diagnosed.

Unfortunately for Kathleen, cancer is a common thread in her family, with her sister, cousins and aunt all being diagnosed with breast cancer before her. At the time, they all tested negative during genetic testing, which left the family baffled. However, new testing has revealed that Kathleen has the PAL-B2, or BRCA-3 gene, and it is highly likely that it runs in her family. This means there is a 30% chance Kathleen could develop ovarian cancer and is planning to have her ovaries removed once her active breast cancer treatment concludes.

Despite all of this, Kathleen has remained extremely positive about her experience. She is now back at work, where she helps manage an aged care facility and is looking to reinvigorate her active and healthy lifestyle. Since undergoing her treatment, Kathleen has completely given up alcohol. Having never been a big drinker, breast cancer was the final push for Kathleen to cut out alcohol from her life - though she may have a glass of wine to celebrate her 50th birthday this year!

Kathleen has been supported throughout her experience by McGrath Breast Care Nurse Deirdre Duyvestyn, who she first met at a specialist appointment early in her treatment. Deirdre was always there to guide Kathleen through her breast cancer experience whenever she was needed, from accompanying Kathleen to medical appointments to decoding complex terminology and providing emotional support.

McGrath Breast Care Nurse Deirdre Duyvestyn on Kathleen

Based in Cairns, Deirdre has been a McGrath Breast Care Nurse since 2018, operating out of BreastScreen Queensland. She met Kathleen at her first appointment with the surgeon and knew about the immense history of cancer in Kathleen’s family.

While it was a terrifying experience for Kathleen being the next member of her family diagnosed with breast cancer, Deirdre has been impressed by her outlook and pragmatic approach.

“Coming from a background with that huge history of cancer in the family, you could see that it was incredibly frightening for Kathleen and her husband. However, she was just lovely throughout the whole process, easy to talk to and open to receiving support."

“When she finally got that PAL-B2 result back, indicating a genetic predisposition towards cancer, you could see that it answered a lot of questions, but also opened up a whole new world of concerns. Nonetheless they have always been pragmatic about everything, asking what the next step was and how best to move forward. She has been brilliant."

Your Dry July fundraising means the McGrath Foundation can fund more McGrath Breast Care Nurses like Joylene

My name is Joylene, and I am privileged to be a McGrath Breast Care Nurse based out of Ballarat, Victoria.

I wanted to say thank you for taking on the Dry July challenge and supporting the McGrath Foundation this year. It’s because of your incredible support that the McGrath Foundation is able to fund more McGrath Breast Care Nurses like me, so that no one experiences breast cancer without care.

I see firsthand how important a McGrath Breast Care Nurse is in the lives of so many Australians.

Did you know that this Dry July I joined you in the challenge? I said no to alcohol for 31 days for my health and for my patients and I found that it was a great opportunity to reboot my health!

This year, it is estimated that 55 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day. A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and that's the case now more than ever. The McGrath Foundation currently fund 171 McGrath Breast Care Nurses like me. Together we provide invaluable physical, psychological and emotional support to families navigating the complexities of their breast cancer diagnosis and care.

On behalf of the McGrath Foundation, our patients and their families, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the those experiencing breast cancer.

See Joylene's full video here.

You should feel so proud knowing that your Dry July fundraising will be helping the McGrath Foundation support people like Sarah

When 44-year-old Sarah discovered a lump, she immediately had a gut instinct something wasn’t right. After multiple mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsies on several different cysts, a lump was discovered that hadn’t been found in the original tests, which was invasive carcinoma.

Sarah quickly learned that no two people react to breast cancer treatments the same, so after suffering severe anaphylactic reactions in surgery, whilst navigating her diagnosis through COVID-19, her McGrath Breast Care nurse, also named Sarah, couldn’t have come into her life at a better time.

Sarah’s McGrath Breast Care Nurse provided much-needed support and comfort throughout her treatment; offering constant reassurance and peace of mind, whilst always being there to put a smile on her face.

“So often, you’re bombarded by medical terminology and all you want to know is how it will affect you practically, so you really need someone to talk you through that.”

“It was very reassuring that I knew Sarah had spoken to the chemo coordinator and that the nurses knew about my case without me having to explain it all over again. Without that, I would have been really anxious and more scared.”

You should feel so proud knowing that your Dry July fundraising will be helping the McGrath Foundation support people like Sarah, by ensuring McGrath Breast Care Nurses can continue supporting Australian families experiencing breast cancer. ❤️

Read Sarah’s full story here: www.dryjuly.com/2021/sarahs-story 

Raising funds for McGrath Foundation will help support people like Luise

There's never a good time to be diagnosed with metastatic cancer, which is incurable, but when that diagnosis comes in your 30's it's especially hard.

Luise Gordon, 38, hasn't had it easy but she believes that the diagnosis has helped heal her. While she has to undergo treatment for the rest of her life, she's determined to make the most of it. By the time a patient is diagnosed as metastatic, they can have seen up to 80 medical professionals, which is why having the constant support of her McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Sam, has helped create a sense of stability in Luise's life.

COVID-19 has thrown additional challenges in to the mix, with border closures preventing Luise from spending time with her family from Queensland for much of the past year, including Christmas.

The diagnosis

This part of my story isn't too happy. It was the end of a shitty, abusive relationship and after my bumps and bruises went away I realised I still had another lump under my arm. It's one reason that I missed it even though it was the size of a golf ball and was very tender.

It all started three years ago, and I just knew. My mum had breast cancer five years before me and my grandmother had it as well. We hold theCHEK2 gene, it's not so much a breast cancer gene as just a cancer gene. Mum and Nan both recovered, they went through regular treatment and are fine, so I expected that too.

Read Luise's full story here: https://www.dryjuly.com/2021/luises-story 

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