McGrath Foundation

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In Australia, one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the age of 85.

With your support this Dry July you will be helping to ensure that people with breast cancer have the care and support of 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. As much as they try, the diagnosis, the treatment and the disease can have a huge impact on their lives.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses bring families peace of mind through expert knowledge, personal care and genuine compassion. They can help create time in someone’s life not defined by breast cancer. McGrath Foundation research shows early access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse significantly improves the experience and outcomes of a person with breast cancer. *

Proceeds from Dry July 2020 will help support the McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurses to provide care to people experiencing breast cancer.

Helping Australians

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia.

The McGrath Foundation currently funds 145 McGrath Breast Care Nurses in communities right across Australia, who have supported more than 86,000 families since 2005.

McGrath Breast Care Nurses are an important part of the complex medical team managing the care of people with breast cancer. They are specially trained and experienced in supporting both early and metastatic breast cancer.

Ongoing funding is needed to ensure our 145 McGrath Breast Care Nurses can continue to provide support to families experiencing breast cancer across Australia.

Together we can make a difference, now more than ever!

*Source - Mahony, J. et al. (2019). The Impact of Breast Care Nurses: An Evaluation of the McGrath Foundation's Breast Care Nurse Initiative. Asia-Pacific journal of oncology nursing, 6(1), 28–34.

Latest Updates

Young mum Sarah and her McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Rikki

Young mum of two boys under three, Sarah, was at the end of her maternity leave when she decided to get a baseline test of her breasts last August. She had a family history of breast cancer, so she wanted to get a test so she knew what normal looked like for her.

After that first mammogram, an abnormality was discovered and a biopsy the same day confirmed it was breast cancer. Treatment for the initial diagnoses would normally involve a lumpectomy, but considering her family history, Sarah opted for a double mastectomy which found additional, more aggressive cancer cells.

It was in her first appointment with the breast surgeon that Sarah met Rikki Hopkins, her McGrath Breast Care Nurse.

"I didn’t really know anything about having someone like that to help me," Sarah says.

"She rang me and told me she would schedule and come to my appointments. Rikki helped make me feel confident in my decisions and made sure that I was coping as well."

Sarah says the support she received from Rikki was invaluable. Rikki acted as a medical sounding board but also offered a warmth that patients can find lacking in a hospital environment.

"Talking to her is different than talking to a doctor," Sarah says.

''It's not clinical with her, it's more personal. You can talk about emotional things with her, like the family, especially the boys.

"The decision to have a mastectomy was huge, I was so emotional about it, but it was the best decision considering a lumpectomy may not have got all the cancer and we might not have known about the others.

"Rikki was very supportive of my decision. I had a lot of questions that she had no hesitation in answering and provided me with valuable advice.”

Rikki also helped Sarah and her husband, Michael, decide how to discuss her diagnosis and treatment with their older son, Calvin, then 2 ½.

"Calvin said to me, 'Mummy your nipples are broken.' I said: 'Mate, yeah they are.' As I got closer to surgery I told him the doctor was going to take them away because they were broken and that Rikki thought that was fair.

"After surgery, Calvin said 'I want to see your nipples.' I told him they were gone now and when I showed him my scars he leaned in to kiss them better because they were sore." Sara said.

"Even really little kids know something is up, so being honest in a simplified way is very important,” said Rikki.

"Sarah did a beautiful job with all of that. The four of them shaved their hair together, so it was normal for Calvin. She found a way to engage the whole family which reduced the level of distress for her.”

Dry July fundraising means we can continue supporting the McGrath Foundation to fund more McGrath Breast Care Nurses to help people like Sarah.

About McGrath Breast Care Nurse – Rikki Hopkins

Rikki supports patients in the Cairns and Hinterland and Cape and Torres Health Services.   

She has been a McGrath Breast Care Nurse since September 2017 and a Registered Nurse since 2004. She has worked in the speciality area of Oncology since 2010 and has a completed Graduate Certificate in Breast Cancer Nursing.

Rikki sees her role as an information provider, navigator and social support for her patients.

Sarah’s mastectomy and reconstruction involved multiple doctors, so Rikki liaised with all the teams involved to make it easier for Sarah.

She also introduced Sarah towards support available for mothers with cancer, through Mummy’s Wish and the Cancer Council.

2018 Grant funding update: Mildura-based McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Louise James

In 2018, Dry July Foundation awarded a grant to McGrath Foundation to continue the placement of an existing McGrath Breast Care Nurse. 

Louise James is a McGrath Foundation Breast Care Nurse, based in Mildura, VIC. Louise has said, “I provide support to people with breast cancer and their families, coordinating their care and unpacking medical jargon so that each person understands what is happening. I give people time. Time to understand their diagnosis, time to decide on the right treatment for them and time to appreciate their timeline. I’m also incredibly passionate about breast health understanding and encourage people to get to know their bodies so that they know what is normal for them. Thanks to the support of the Dry July Foundation, McGrath Breast Care Nurses, like me are able to continue to provide vital support to people with breast cancer and their families.” 

You can read more about McGrath Foundation and the great work they do by clicking HERE