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Health care professionals working with breast cancer patients post diagnosis

bsally816bsally816 Member Posts: 5
edited June 2019 in General discussion
Are there any health care professionals who worked with breast cancer patients prior to their own diagnosis, who continued working with them post treatment? How did you cope? 

After 20 years of working with breast cancer patients I’m struggling with the thought of going back to it when my treatment is done. But not doing so upsets me more than the thought of losing my breasts. 


  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,871
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,741
    Hi @bsally816 - welcome to the forum!!   Ask away any questions  -  there will always be someone to throw up an answer and/or suggestions!

    What area of healthcare do you work in? 

    After having your own BC treatment - I would imagine it would be quite difficult to separate yourself from your patients' experiences - but I am sure that many work thru the issues (like @JoeyLiz)
    to be effective and very empathetic in treating others at this most important time of their lives.

    You might like to read Liz O'Riodan's Breast Cancer story - she is/was a UK BC surgeon - and has only recently decided not to continue operating for a variety of reasons. 

    take care, be kind to yourself & all the best for your own treatment  xxxx

  • youngdogmumyoungdogmum Gold Coast Member Posts: 248
    I met a nurse the day my port was to go in; it was her first week back after finishing treatment. She’d worked in the oncology unit for years and years and said she was happy to be back there because they supported her so well when she was off. I suppose if your work is supportive it might be nice? 
    I’m a nurse but not within adult oncology.. I plan on going back to try it out but I almost feel as if I don’t want to look after anyone else anymore, I want to look after myself. Time will tell! 
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 5,331
    I guess it's too soon to know how you will feel. The hardest thing is the triggering of your own emotional response. I do counselling and often end up with cancer patients, sometimes it's not an issue and other times it really impacts me. The other challenging part is understanding and supporting the individual which will be quite different from your own experience.

    I suppose all you can do is get through treatment then see how it goes. Supporting people with recurrence and metstatic cancer may trigger emotional responses and fears in you which can come out of the blue. You will need to be mindful of this.
  • bsally816bsally816 Member Posts: 5
    Thank you all for your words & support. I’m a radiographer & have been running my department’s mammography section for the last ten years. 

    At a training session early in my career we had breast cancer survivors who spoke to us & they all agreed that even 10-15 years later, the one day of the year where they were worried was the day they came for their mammogram. This is something I have always impressed upon the people I train, that there is a lot of emotion in the room, not just the patient, but your own as well. 

    For me that is not only a breast cancer diagnosis, but a mammogram biopsy that bled hours later & resulted in an ambulance ride back to hospital as well as my Dad passing away the day of my surgery. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,741
    I am so sorry to hear your story, @bsally816 - how incredibly hard all this has been, especially with your Dad's passing on the day of your surgery and the biopsy bleed that resulted in hospitilisation.

    You are now fully qualified as a BS survivor and will put your own slant on how you move forward with your work and identification/interaction with your clients. 

    The 'anniversary' dates of all the treatment affects everyone of us in one way or another - with the Mammogram and Ultrasound being 'right up there' - with the chance of a recurrence.    

    Do what feels right for you - even if it is in an advisory/educational role with up & coming radiologists.  You will know what path to take, as you return to the work force.  xx

    Take care - recovery & returning to active work is not an easy road  xx
  • lrb_03lrb_03 Member Posts: 1,189
    Hi, @bsally816. Sounds like you were a special breed of radiographer. 
    I'm a nurse, though I had never worked in oncology. You need to do what is right for you, when the time is right. It's probably good to be thinking about possibilities. I had never contemplated anything but clinical practice, and the very early development of lymphoedema put paid to that, and took away my ability to choose. I've been lucky to find non clinical work that I've enjoyed, and has provided many challenges  since finishing active treatment well over 3 years ago, so kinda still feeling lucky..... just not the cancer bit of my story 😝
    Take care as you go through your treatment and accept help and support when it's offered
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,534
    @bsally816 What a great idea to have bc survivors talk to the radiographers about how they felt.
  • bsally816bsally816 Member Posts: 5
    @sister it was more than 15 years ago in a week long course, and the thing I remember is the breast cancer survivors.

     Thanks fall the replies 
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