SURVIVAL AND SUPPORT
There are many issues that we look at after your treatment.
The Survivorship and Support programat Macquarie University provides education and support to the increasing number of women who survive breast and other cancers. The program is a welcome initiative for those who have often undergone a life-changing diagnosis along with treatment that has sometimes involved radical surgery together with chemotherapy and radiation therapies.
Managing your fears. After treatment it is only natural that you will feel more vulnerable. Some patients, when they stop seeing their team on a daily or weekly basis, can feel low or depressed. This is something we are happy to discuss with you and, if appropriate, we can refer you to our on-site psychologist. These fears get better with time but for many patients getting professional counselling is very important.
Menopause. Many patients who have chemotherapy in their late 40s or even 50s can go through premature menopause. There are many ways of managing this including herbal approaches, lifestyle changes or medication. Our doctors have the expertise to manage this and have links with expert menopause doctors or institutes if your menopause becomes difficult to treat.
Sexuality. Naturally this can be affected after treatment. Self-esteem often decreases, given the changes to your body, making intimacy difficult. We encourage you to talk to your doctor or breast care nurse about this if you are worried. There are many ways of helping you through this difficult period.
Mammography after treatment. We recommend a standard mammogram, a 3D mammogram and an ultrasound of one or both breasts once a year after treatment. For patients with dense breasts we also recommend a bilateral breast MRI. We have one of the more sophisticated breast MRI scanners in Sydney, accessible at the lowest cost. Please talk to your doctor about this.
Exercise after breast cancer. At least two trials have shown that exercise and reducing weight can reduce breast cancer recurrence. We offer exercise programs for women after breast cancer surgery, including our ENCORE program, which is held at the Macquarie University Sports Centre.
Macquarie University Hospital is also the only home of the only multidisciplinary surgical lymphoedema clinicin the country.