BREAST cancer survivor Margaret Lungo has spent the last decade holding daughter Sandra Lungo’s hand at their breast check-ups.
“We’ve always come together to have our check-ups,” Ms Lungo said.
“It’s the annual thing that we do together.”
But for the first time in 10 years, the pair, who live on Brisbane’s north, won’t be having their usual long, nine-hour “nerve-racking” check ups.
Instead, Mrs and Ms Lungo were among the first patients cared for at Holy Spirit Northside Private Hospital’s new Breast Health Centre in Chermside which opened on April 7.
What’s normally a “long drawn out day” between 10am and 7pm of mammograms, breast checks and an ultrasound took the mother and daughter one hour at the new clinic.
“It takes a bit of the anxiety out, especially with my elderly mum,” Ms Lungo said.
“It can be a nerve-wracking experience to come here, and you can feel a bit anxious, but the surroundings make you feel comfortable and at home.”
The warm homely touch was an important feature for HSNPH General Manager Daniele Doyle, who as a breast cancer survivor, understands how vulnerable women may feel during a breast screening.
“Patients come into our hospital feeling very vulnerable, and women in particular when coming in for screening can feel very vulnerable,” Ms Doyle said.
And women coming back for check-ups once they’ve had breast cancer are particularly anxious about making sure they’ve got that clearance.
“We believe the aesthetics and having that feeling of calm and having the staff all hand selected to be able to support women and men coming through was very, very important.”
Treating breast cancer is not just a job for Ms Doyle, but is a way to care for women and men at a vulnerable time in their lives.
“Breast cancer is very close to my heart,” Ms Doyle said.
“I’ve had breast cancer, and also my sister.
“They say one in eight women in their lifetime will develop breast cancer.”
Ms Doyle said it was the hospital’s “responsibility as a Catholic health ministry” to open a “comprehensive cancer service”.
“Women had to travel past this hospital over to another very good private hospital but we now can provide this for the northside community.”