By Dr Megan Appleton
GP in North Lakes, Brisbane who is passionate about women’s and sexual health, and health promotion
As a GP, I am privileged to see people across the spectrum of their lives. I often feel that, at times we hold people’s hearts in our hands - I get to share in some of life’s most joyful moments. However, at other times I am the bearer of the most heartbreaking news. With a new breast cancer diagnosis, your GP may have been involved in the investigation process, or they may have been the person to break that earth shattering news to you. Your GP will have referred you on to the specialists involved in the treatment of your cancer. A new cancer diagnosis can leave people feeling quite overwhelmed with a host of new people in their world.
That’s where a familiar face can often be a source of comfort, reassurance and guidance in a situation where people can feel a little lost. GP’s can offer a central port of call, a place where information can be gathered and/or co-ordinated. Your GP can be the central point of contact for your treating team.
Your GP will also continue to manage other aspects of your health care outside of your breast cancer, for example diabetes, thyroid disorders, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Our hope is that at some point in the future, breast cancer will become something that you had to fight, and eventually you beat. The other aspects of your health will require ongoing attention. Making sure your cervical screening test (pap smear) is up to date and the you have had your annual flu vaccine, amongst other things, will ensure you’re healthy enough to fight the good fight.
A breast cancer diagnosis can fill patients and their families with uncertainty and fear. A patients mental and emotional health requires ongoing monitoring, with support offered when required. Children in particular may need additional support when navigating a parents’ breast cancer journey. Your GP can direct you to and help you access appropriate support services for you and your family.
You are more than just your cancer diagnosis. You are a whole person, who needs a holistic approach to your health care. As GP’s, we can walk beside you, to help you navigate your breast cancer journey, through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Your GP will also help you and your family stay on top of the other aspects of your health care, to help you live your healthiest and happiest life.
Follow Megan on Instagram @drmrsmum