AS A McGrath Foundation breast care nurse, Horsham’s Wendy Crafter knows how daunting and devastating a breast cancer diagnosis can be.
During the past 14 months she has advocated for and supported women through various stages of the disease.
“One in eight Australian women are diagnosed with breast cancer,” she said.
“While it’s important to note not all lumps and bumps are malignant, it’s also important for women to be breast-aware.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We encourage women after they start menstruating to know what their breasts look and feel like,” she said.
“Finding breast cancer early
provides the best chance of surviving the disease.”
Ms Crafter recommended women self-check their breasts regularly.
“After 40, women can have free mammograms,” she said.
“Breast Screen Victoria targets women from 50 to 74.”
Ms Crafter travels thousands of kilometres a year in her role as a breast care nurse.
“My area covers from Stawell to the South Australian border,” she said.
“It’s a lot of ground to cover, but I don’t mind.
“I absolutely love my job. I’m very passionate. Breast cancer affects so many people Australia-wide.”
Ms Crafter visits people in their homes, including nursing homes and supported accommodation.
“The first visit is an introduction to me and what I do,” she said.
“I can incorporate support, information and guidance for the women and their families and friends.”
Ms Crafter also works in day oncology at the Wimmera Base and Stawell hospitals.
She has been nursing for 33 years and has significant experience in oncology, surgical and acute nursing.
Ms Crafter said it was an honour to be part of the McGrath Foundation.
“The position is much-needed and to be able to promote breast awareness to men and women across the Wimmera helps with early detection,” she said.
“The Wimmera has certainly welcomed the position with much enthusiasm. There are 100 McGrath breast care nurses across Australia.
“The foundation is aiming for 150, but I think it will just keep going – there is such a need.”
Ms Crafter said people could call her on 5381 9111 or 0428 210 105 for more information about the free service.
She said people could visit www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au to make a donation to support breast care nurses.