Q&A with McGrath Breast Care Nurses – March 2023

ABC Workshop March 2023 – Q&A with McGrath Breast Care Nurses

Katie Head and Bethany Crowe answer questions from participants of the ABCG Workshop in March 2023.

Q1 - On Referrals

Joining Dr Vlad Andelkovic Medical Oncologist for our question and answer session are Ms Katie Head and Ms Beth Crowe both Metastatic Breast Care Nurses. Ms Head discusses referrals and the different ways she might come into contact with new patients. Additionally, she mentions the McGrath Foundation’s commitment to employing specialist metastatic breast care nurses. Dr Andelkovic further elaborates how breast care nurses frequently possess knowledge of patients ahead of him.

Q2 - Immunotherapy Response

Dr. Andelkovic sheds light on immunotherapy, stating that although research projects are underway, it has not yet become a mainstream treatment. He further elaborates how immunotherapy can serve as a viable option in areas where treatment options are limited e.g. triple negative breast cancer.

Q3 - Regional Patients

Ms Crowe talks about how the McGrath Foundation strives to provide free access to a breast care nurse regardless of location. Additionally, she emphasises the benefits of being local and why she prefers to refer patients to a nurse in their area. Ms Head then gives further insights into the McGrath Foundation’s commitment to employing metastatic breast care nurses.

Q4 - Lobbying for Support

Ms Crowe talks about how the McGrath Foundation actively lobbies for new breast care nurses and funding. She also highlights that in a bid to increase numbers, the foundation is incorporating non-foundation nurses into their services.

Q5 - Supporting Family Members

Pia inquires about support for family members and Ms Crowe explains that often with metastatic patients, it is common for nurses to engage in more conversations with family members than the patients themselves.

Q6 - Supportive Therapies

Ms Crowe discusses various supportive therapies and emphasises the importance of breast care nurses being knowledgeable about them, comprehending their significance, and effectively sharing this information with interested patients.

Q7 - How to Access CBD Oil

When inquiring about CBD oil, Ms Head suggests obtaining it through a prescription from an oncologist or palliative care physician. However, she notes that healthcare providers may be hesitant due to the lack of clinical trials. Ms Head emphasises the importance of discussing the use of CBD oil with a healthcare provider beforehand to ensure it does not interact with any other prescribed medications.

Q8 - More about the Role of the McGrath Nurse

Ms Crowe explains the McGrath Foundation’s model of care and how it governs the way they support patients. In addition, she delves into the various responsibilities that make up the role of a breast care nurse, shedding light on the tasks they undertake.

Q9 - Discussing Scan Results

Ms Crowe explains why it is preferable to discuss scan results with an oncologist before talking to a breast care nurse.

Q10 - Palliative Care

Ms Head talks about the best time for a patient to consider palliative care and discusses its many benefits.