29 October 2015
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Breast Care Team at Walsall Manor Hospital provides a range of support to local patients through their entire breast cancer journey.
Jenni Hodgetts, Macmillan Breast Care Clinical Nurse Specialist in the team, ensures people affected by breast cancer have the support they need right from diagnosis, during surgery and beyond.
Jenni said: ‘This makes a difference to the local people as they are introduced to their breast cancer nurse from day one and have access to a first-class service from our dedicated team.’
Jenni and her team also provide support over the phone: ‘We give our patients contact details for their breast cancer nurse so they’re able to contact us on a direct line whenever they have any questions or need support.’
As part of her role, Jenni also works with a variety of Macmillan and other cancer support services: ‘I work closely with lymphoedema services, citizens advice, complementary therapy services and palliative care teams to name just a few.
‘The best part of my job is being able to follow a patient from their day of diagnosis through to the end of their cancer journey and being able to help them at every step along the way. It’s also really nice to see the difference that your help makes when you get good feedback from patients. It means a great deal to me to be a part of the Macmillan team and to be able to help people affected by cancer in this way.’
Jenni and her team regularly fundraise for Macmillan to help meet the needs of people affected by cancer in the Black Country: ‘In April we held a bring-and-buy, cake sale and raffle event in the Atrium of the hospital. The whole team pitched in and we raised over £700 for Macmillan as well as giving out breast awareness information. And most recently we held a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in September at the Hospital.’
The most common symptom of breast cancer is a lump in the breast. However other signs and symptoms to be aware of are:
- a change in the size or shape of the breast
- dimpling of the skin or thickening in the breast tissue
- a nipple that’s turned in (inverted)
- a rash (like eczema) on the nipple
- discharge from the nipple
- swelling or a lump in the armpit.
Most breast lumps are not cancerous. But it is important to get a lump or any of the above symptoms checked by your GP straight away.
No one should face cancer alone. For information, advice or a simply a listening ear, call the Macmillan Support Line on 0800 808 0000. Lines are open are Mon-Fri 9am-8pm.