and people who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis are overwhelmed and
feel they are left to their own devices, and care for themselves - in a physical
and emotional sense - once they have gone home from treatment. Part of my role
was to empower patients to manage treatment side effects at home and know when
and how to report them to the right health professionals and direct them to
appropriate support services.
In my role,
as a 13 11 20 cancer nurse, I take a wide variety of calls from people wanting
information and support. I enjoy being able to spend time on the phone, without
being rushed by hospital routines and time constraints.
I have spoken
to many people about all aspects of cancer care and support, everything from
discussing side effects of treatment to the overwhelming sense of an uncertain
future associated with a cancer diagnosis. Many people call as they are
concerned or confused about their own cancer risk, especially after promotional
messages on the radio and TV.
call to get a “Bowel Cancer Kit” (also known as the FOBT Kit). During the
conversation I determine if the person is eligible for a Kit which tests the
bowel motion for the presence of blood. I explain the FOBT Kit or National
Bowel Cancer Screening Kit is appropriate for people 50-74yrs who do not have
any symptoms of bowel cancer and do not have a strong family history of bowel
symptoms may include bleeding from the rectum or blood after a bowel motion,
changed bowel habits, abdominal pain or unexplained tiredness. I direct people
to their GP if any of these symptoms or a family history is present. People who
are eligible for a Kit from the Federal Government are encouraged to use it and
are advised as to how and when they will receive a Kit in the mail.
I have had
personal experience of my own father in-law being diagnosed with bowel cancer
which was too advanced to treat, before the days of regular screening. I use a
FOBT Kit every 2 years myself and encourage my family and friends to do the
same, if it is appropriate for them.
Being part of
the 13 11 20 team, it’s a great feeling knowing I am making a difference to the
person on the other side of the phone.
To find out more about the National
Bowel Screening campaign, call us on: 13
11 20 or visit the website
for further information.