Breast care pos­si­ble

Nurse on hand for when lives turn up­side down

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS - EL­YSE WURM El­[email protected]­wick­dai­lynews.com.au

TWO years ago Ash­lee Stir­ling and her hus­band Shane were pass­ing through Yan­gan when they saw a block of land and de­cided to buy it.

They chopped their Queens­lan­der home into three pieces and moved it from Bris­bane to the small South­ern Downs town, along with their three chil­dren.

The cou­ple moved with no jobs or plans, but ev­ery­thing fell into place and Mrs Stir­ling is now work­ing in a job she loves as a Mc­Grath breast care nurse based at War­wick Hospi­tal.

“It’s been the best thing we’ve ever done, the kids re­ally love it,” she said.

Hav­ing worked as a pae­di­atric nurse and lac­ta­tion con­sul­tant, Mrs Stir­ling se­cured a job as a nurse at the hospi­tal.

In March she took on her new role as a breast nurse with a foun­da­tion she ad­mires.

With one in eight women di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer be­fore age 85, and 148 men di­ag­nosed in Aus­tralia each year, Mrs Stir­ling said her po­si­tion was in­valu­able.

“Their life is thrown into tur­moil,” Mrs Stir­ling said.

“It’s re­ally fast-mov­ing, there’s lots of ap­point­ments and emo­tion­ally it’s stress­ful, their whole life is un­cer­tain now.”

Mrs Stir­ling pro­vides emo­tional, phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port for free and without the need for a re­fer­ral to sup­port peo­ple with breast can­cer.

This could mean ac­com­pa­ny­ing peo­ple to ap­point­ments, ex­plain­ing med­i­cal jar­gon or ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple about what comes next.

Mrs Stir­ling said there were also chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with bat­tling the can­cer in a ru­ral area, such as trans­port and the fi­nan­cial cost of trav­el­ling to ap­point­ments in big­ger cities.

“I can be that cen­tral per­son and li­aise with every­body in the treat­ing hospi­tal,” she said.

“It means that you’re not alone and have a spe­cial­ist in the area that’s eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble for ques­tions or con­cerns.”

With early de­tec­tion be­ing the key to bat­tling many can­cers, Mrs Stir­ling said monthly self breast checks were im­por­tant for both men and women in War­wick.

To con­tact Mrs Stir­ling phone 0408 244 720.

Photo: El­yse Wurm

HELP­ING HAND: Mc­Grath breast care nurse Ash­lee Stir­ling has been in the job in War­wick since March.

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