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Personal Stories

Behind the scenes with a clinical nurse specialist

One of our clinical nurse specialists, Jane Murphy, shares what it's like to work at Breast Cancer Care and the importance of the support we offer.

Every day our nurses go the extra mile to provide support and information for people facing breast cancer.

One of our clinical nurse specialists, Jane Murphy, shares what it's like to work at Breast Cancer Care and the importance of the support we offer.

My role is very varied with no two days the same

One of the main aspects of my role involves working on our Helpline and responding to written enquiries that come to us through our Ask Our Nurses service. It’s essential the information we provide is reliable, current and evidence based, so I run a training programme to make sure that we’re kept up to date with clinical knowledge.

As well as clinical information, we also offer a range of support

We are happy to talk anything through that might help someone with their breast cancer experience. People contact us for many different reasons.

A recent shift on the Helpline gives an example of how varied our calls are.

  •  The first call I took was from a 74-year-old woman who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She was concerned that she wouldn’t be offered the same treatment as younger women. I explained that when someone is diagnosed, their situation is discussed at a meeting between specialist doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals such as physiotherapists. They take into account all factors before deciding on the best treatment. The caller felt reassured about how treatment decisions are made and I sent her our Treating primary breast cancer booklet.
  •  The next caller was a woman whose daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38. She described her guilt that it was her daughter who had been diagnosed, not her, something we often hear from mothers of younger women. We have a support service called Someone Like Me which can match people to a trained volunteer by email or phone. It’s something she felt would be helpful so I referred her.
  •  My last call was from a woman with secondary breast cancer (cancer that has spread outside the breast to somewhere else in the body) about clinical trials for new treatments. She also talked about the uncertainty of living with secondary breast cancer and the impact it’s having on her family. We’re here for both clinical and emotional needs, and talking to someone not personally involved can really help. We have a range of services specifically for women with a secondary breast cancer diagnosis and we talked these through.

Many people we speak to say how isolated they feel and how helpful it is to be able to call us. Loneliness and isolation can be particularly difficult so knowing we are in some way helping to reduce this for some is very rewarding.

Not everyone knows they can contact us

Not everyone diagnosed with or affected by breast cancer knows about Breast Cancer Care and all the different ways we can help.

We often speak to people who say they wish they’d known about us earlier on in their diagnosis. It’s a real shame that some people could be missing out on what we offer. It would be good to know that we are reaching everyone affected by breast cancer as soon as possible.

You can call us – we’re here for you

If you are worried about breast cancer or breast health, just want to talk things through or find more support, our experts are at the end of the line.

Call the Helpline free 0808 800 6000

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