Patients and doctors are supporting CUH Charity’s new fundraising appeal to have a Breast Cancer Liaison Nurse appointed in Cork University Hospital (CUH). CUH is a designated Centre of Excellence for the delivery of cancer care, yet it does not have a dedicated nurse to support patients who are living with metastatic breast cancer.
The appointment of such a specialist would reduce the emotional and psychological hardship and streamline care for patients, many of whom are
dealing with a distressing prognosis and have to deal with over 20 different medical professionals involved in their care.
It’s hoped through this, CUH Charity’s second fundraising appeal, that funds raised will facilitate the appointment of an urgently required and
highly-skilled Breast Cancer Liaison Nurse on a contract of at least three years.
Over 300 people are diagnosed with symptomatic breast cancer each year in CUH, 20% of these will be diagnosed with metastatic (or recurrent) breast cancer, where the cancer has spread from the primary site in the breast to other parts of the body.
Speaking at the launch of the appeal, Helen O’Sullivan, a 55-year-old mother-of-three from Rochestown in Cork described how she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in her pelvis and her hip in October, 2012.
“I was utterly stunned, shocked and devastated when I was diagnosed with recurrent cancer. I would never have been ready for that experience especially when I thought I had beaten cancer. The diagnosis hit me very hard and I felt overwhelmed with questions and emotions.
“I truly believe there should be a clinical specialist dedicated to supporting patients. We deal with a team of doctors and every day I have new
queries that overwhelm me and no single point of contact to speak to about my prognosis.”
Dr Seamus O’Reilly, consultant oncologist is leading CUH Charity’s Breast Cancer Liaison Nurse appeal. Dr O’Reilly is head of the Oncology
Clinical Trials unit at CUH where he leads a national study of the needs of women with metastatic breast cancer.
According to Dr O’Reilly many patients would have to deal with medical professionals in areas including oncology, radiotherapy, surgery, radiology, pain, palliative care, pharmacy, public health nurse, social work, GP, practice nurse, chemotherapy nurses, breast care nurses, clinical trial nurses, dietician, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and orthopaedics.
“Experience with other cancers has demonstrated greatly improved care, better adherence to guidelines, greater patient satisfaction when such nurses are involved. The CUH Charity Breast Cancer Liaison Nurse would integrate and improve the care of patients living with metastatic breast cancer in our community.”
The appeal is also being supported by Cork Arc Cancer Support House. Ellen Joyce, Director of Services believes the role of a specialist nurse is
“pivotal in delivering high quality care, tailored to patient’s needs which will reduce their sense of isolation and improve their quality of life.”
“We are delighted that CUH Charity has launched this very worthy and necessary appeal. We will support them in every way to see that this vital
liaison nurse position is created to offer patients the support, assistance and reassurance they need throughout their treatment.”