As a charity, Friends of the Cancer Centre is committed to enhancing the care and support people receive through their diagnosis, treatment and beyond. In particular, we are incredibly proud of the charity’s specialist nurses and we are delighted to introduce you to the latest addition to our nursing team, Gemma Potter.
Gemma is Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Secondary Breast Cancer Nurse and she is the first and only nurse of her kind in Northern Ireland. Gemma, who came into post earlier this year, provides tailored care for people diagnosed and treated with secondary breast cancer. Secondary breast cancer – also known as metastatic breast cancer – occurs when breast cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. Whilst secondary breast cancer can be treated, improving quality of life and helping people live longer, there is sadly no cure. The complex nature of this cancer means there are lots of intricate treatment options and specialist support is vital. As well as supporting those newly diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, Gemma will also be a source of on-going support for those who are living longer thanks to new and improved treatments for the disease.
Gemma joins Elaine Shaw, Friends of the Cancer Centre’s Oncology Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialist, to provide support across the patient pathway. Gemma’s new role will bridge the gap that existed in secondary breast cancer support, providing a significant improvement to the patient experience and the level of care provided for these patients.
In recent months Gemma has been settling into and developing this brand new role to provide the best care for her patients. She said:
“I am absolutely delighted to take on this role and I feel honoured that I will have the opportunity to support this very important patient group.
“Before coming into post, there was no dedicated support for people with secondary breast cancer. The breast care team at Belfast City Hospital went above and beyond to support patients and I am very lucky to be able to pick up from their fantastic work. I can now work alongside them to ensure that those with secondary breast cancer have the support they need, when they need it most. I can be an accessible point of contact throughout diagnosis, treatment and beyond, and can provide a valuable link between the surgical breast cancer, oncology breast cancer and secondary breast cancer services. I will be on hand for patients to provide specialist support in dealing with symptoms and side effects, and will co-ordinate treatment plans, as well as being a supportive shoulder to lean on.”
Be your own Breast Bud this International Women’s Day
This International Women’s Day we are also calling on people across Northern Ireland to get into the habit of checking their breasts and chest with the help of our Breast Bud Self – Check Hanger. The hanger has a step-by-step guide on how to carry out a self-check, as well as some of the things you should look out for. Order yours online here: Breast Bud Self-Check Hanger