Behind the scenes with Louise Wilks, 13 11 20 Cancer Nurse

Tuesday 6 June, 2017

How did you get involved in Cancer care? Tell us about your other nursing experience.

My dad works in cancer research and I have been exposed to this area my whole life. Hence, I chose to focus my career as a cancer nurse and have never turned back. Straight from graduating in 2008, I went to work at Peter Mac as a Cancer Nurse, with a focus on haematology. I then decided to broaden my skills, and 3 years ago joined Cancer Council Victoria. I now work here 2 days a week as well at Peter Mac.

Describe a typical day at Cancer Council Victoria.

I usually receive around 5 emails and 15 calls a day. Calls can sometimes last from 30 minutes - one hour, keeping me very busy. When I am managing the email service, my main priority is responding to all emails received.

Do you receive many calls from people who have had a cancer diagnosis and don't know where to turn?

Yes, definitely. I receive a lot of calls from people who need support or have questions about cancer treatment and are unsure how to process this information. Whenever I refer to our Cancer Connect program, it's always received well as people didn't know it exists. People affected by cancer have found it extremely beneficial to speak to someone ‘who has walked in their shoes'.

Do people enquire about participating in clinical trials?

The launch of the new Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) website will help people who would like to participate in a clinical trial find out more information. The pilot Trial Connect program is a chance for people to talk with someone who has participated in a trial, I feel this will be really helpful for both parties.

What's the best thing about being a cancer nurse?

When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it can affect all aspects of life. I help manage and navigate the practical, emotional and physical implications the diagnosis may have on their life. I find being able to help someone is extremely rewarding.

Send in any cancer questions you may have to
‘Ask a Nurse' and a qualified nurse will respond within 48 hours.

Cancer Connect is a phone-based peer support program that is free and confidential. To find out how to be connected with this service, or to volunteer, visit

To find out more about the Trial Connect program, call us on: 13 11 20 or email:


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Questions about cancer?

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