Breast Cancer

At Cabrini, we provide personalised care every step of the way for breast cancer patients, from diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation and recovery. Our highly experienced team employs the latest technology and innovations to give you the highest standard of care at this challenging time. Our decision making is guided by our patients and their individual needs and preferences.

General Inquiries

Phone: (03) 9508 5550

Contact breastcancercare@cabrini.com.au
Operating Hours

Breast Care Nurse
Monday - Friday, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Consulting service
Monday – Friday, 9.00 am – 5.00 pm

Emergency at Malvern Hospital
24 hours, 7 days per week

Referral

Required.

For Patients | For GPs
Downloads

Cabrini Breast Cancer Care brochure

Locations

Cabrini Malvern
181-183 Wattletree Road, Malvern VIC 3144
(03) 9508 1222
Cabrini Brighton
243 New Street, Brighton VIC 3186
(03) 9508 8777

About Cabrini Breast Cancer Care

At Cabrini our dedicated team of health professionals - surgeons, diagnostic experts, medical and radiation oncologists, breast care nurses, physiotherapists and counsellors - work together to determine the best, individualised treatment plan for every patient. This multi-disciplinary approach ensures you can access every specialist you need to get the most advanced treatment and support, all in the one place. Whether it’s surgery, nursing, rehabilitation or counselling, we will work with you in every aspect of your treatment and recovery, to provide care tailored to your specific needs. 

Cabrini’s Breast Cancer Care service is at the forefront of innovative treatment and technology and provides comprehensive care to more than 650 patients a year. Our passionate healthcare team participates in cancer education, clinical trials, cancer boards and national and international conferences. We provide:

  • highly qualified and skilled healthcare team 
  • team approach to determine the best individualised treatment plan for each patient
  • access to clinical trials
  • free information sessions for patients, families, carers and friends
  • diagnostic facilities including 3D Mammogram, CT ultrasound, MRI
  • second opinion service
  • metastatic breast cancer service
  • onsite chemotherapy centre
  • comprehensive support services including; allied health services (physiotherapy, exercise physiology, psychology, dietetics), a rehabilitation program and palliative and supportive care services

Services offered

  • Breast care nurses
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Education sessions
  • Genetic counselling
  • Hospital-in-the-home service
  • Lymphoedema service
  • Metastatic Breast Care Nurse
  • Medical imaging
  • Medical oncology
  • Nutrition service
  • Palliative and supportive care
  • Pathology
  • Pastoral Care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Preadmission consultation
  • Psychological support
  • Radiation oncology with GenesisCare
  • Rehabilitation program
  • Scalp cooling technology
  • Surgery including reconstructive breast surgery
  • Weekly mindfulness meditation sessions
  • Weekly multidisciplinary breast cancer meetings
  • Wig and headwear service
  • Support group

Specialists and health professionals

Breast Cancer Surgeons

Reconstruction Surgeons

General Practitioner Consultant

  • Dr Karen Price

Medical Oncologists

Radiation Oncologists

Psycho-oncologist

  • Dr Jane Fletcher

Breast care nurses

Our experienced and passionate team of breast care nurses are committed to improve the continuity of care for women, and provide important information, support and referral for a wide range of needs experienced by patients with breast cancer.

Bronwyn Flanagan
Bronwyn is a registered nurse with 20 years’ experience in breast care. Her passion is supporting and providing information to breast cancer patients and their families. She is committed to the multidisciplinary approach to patient care and believes best outcomes are achieved when both physical and emotional needs are addressed in a timely manner.



Alison Murphy
Alison is a breast care nurse consultant with many years of experience at both public and private hospitals. She has held a variety of roles in community health, nursing management, and in surgical and oncology departments. In 2009 she qualified as a Breast Care Nurse and further enhanced her practice by completing an oncology qualification in 2012. Alison ensures breast cancer patients receive the best possible information and support.



Sandra Britton Elliott
Sandra is a registered nurse with many years’ experience in a variety of areas in nursing. She completed a course in breast care nursing in 2016. She also acts as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in a post-surgical ward caring for patients following their breast surgery or during a stay whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment. 
Sandra is dedicated to providing the best possible support to breast cancer patients throughout the whole continuum of their treatment.




Janet Kirker
Janet joined the team as a McGrath Metastatic Breast Care Nurse in September 2017. Janet believes in providing a supportive and tailored approach to care, taking into account emotional, physical and psychosocial needs. She believes she can make a difference by coordinating care and simplifying complex information for people trying to cope with a cancer diagnosis, and the day-to-day demands of living with breast cancer. Janet has extensive clinical experience working in oncology nursing and has held several nurse specialist and management roles in the healthcare sector. She is currently studying post graduate studies in Breast Cancer and Oncology Nursing.


Melissa Vereker
Melissa is the MDT Meeting Coordinator for Cabrini Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Data Manager for the Cabrini Monash Department of Medical Oncology. Since joining Cabrini in 2016, Melissa has developed the Breast Cancer Database and Breast MDT Meeting Database. Melissa believes monitoring and measuring safety and patient care is an essential part of health care delivery. Data is used to measure quality of cancer care, compliance with best practice guidelines, identify areas for service improvement and ensure patients receive safe and effective treatment.

Why choose Cabrini for your breast cancer care?

At Cabrini we treat every patient as an individual and that’s what sets us apart. We understand it’s a confronting time, which is why our innovative program has been designed with help from the most important people in the breast cancer experience - our patients.

This ensures our team of skilled specialists and nurses can understand and support both the physical and emotional needs of our patients while they deliver the finest care before, during and after treatment.

We offer an eight-week reconditioning program during or after treatment designed specifically for breast cancer patients. The course includes: physical rehabilitation and psychological group support, and covers topics such as nutrition, exercise, sexual health after cancer, body image, relationships, communication and mindfulness meditation.

I consider myself very fortunate to have had the care, support and compassion of the Cabrini Breast Cancer Care team during my treatment. Aside from the excellent medical care I received, and perhaps, more importantly, I felt respected and listened to at a time when I was feeling vulnerable and unsure. The team was fundamental in helping me through the emotional rollercoaster of breast cancer, and I am very grateful for their warmth and humour. I can’t imagine what my journey would have been like without them.” - Heather, Age 51

Being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer was extremely daunting. The Cabrini Breast Cancer Care team gave me every support I needed on this unwanted journey. From the outset, I felt encouraged to learn that they provided the very latest care available. I felt reassured that there was a team of doctors and clinicians that created an individually tailored treatment plan. They were there to answer any questions and proved an invaluable source of information to deal with the practical, and sometimes emotional challenges I was facing. I felt comforted by the shining individuals I met; their ever present warmth, kindness, and endless good cheer made me feel so truly at ease. I can’t thank Cabrini enough!” -Jo, Age 46

Useful resources

Commonly asked questions

  • Who do I contact when I am diagnosed with Breast Cancer?

    When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, your GP will refer you to a breast surgeon. Your surgeon will then put you in contact with the Cabrini Breast Cancer Care Team where dedicated Breast Care Nurses will help you with all your questions and start planning the next steps. They can be reached on (03) 9508 5550 or (03) 9508 5568.

  • How much will my treatment cost?

    It depends on your private health insurance policy and the type of medical tests and treatment you will require. Every patient is different, so please speak to your doctors and health insurance company about the expected associated out of pocket costs. Generally, hospital cover policies pay the cost of in-hospital treatment charged by your specialist, and hospital costs such as accommodation and theatre fees. You may need to pay a gap, which is the difference between the total fee charged by your doctor and any Medicare rebate and health fund benefit.

    There are no out of pocket expenses for wig room services, consultations with a breast care nurse, access to support groups, information sessions for patients and families and Look good feel good program.

    The breast cancer exercise rehabilitation program generally will incur limited out of pocket costs with rehab cover.

    Please note: this is a guide only; for further details please contact your private health provider.

  • Is financial assistance available?

    Victoria now offers four pro bono programs for people experiencing financial hardship as the result of their cancer diagnosis: the Legal Referral Service, the Financial Planning Referral Service, the Workplace Advisory Service, and the Small Business Advice Service. These programs are delivered by industry professionals who volunteer their time to assist clients who cannot afford to pay for advice. Cancer Council Victoria offers a detailed guide on Cancer and Your Finances Guide and also provides assistance to match clients with appropriate service providers. Cabrini also offers access to a social worker who can supply patients with information about accessing superannuation and other financial information.

  • Who do I see at my first medical visit?

    You will visit the breast surgeon for an assessment. You may require further investigations including: a medical examination, imaging, breast core biopsy and assessment for genetic counselling.

    After you have met with the Breast cancer surgeon or medical oncologist you will meet your Cabrini Breast Care Nurse. The breast care nurses will help coordinate your care, provide referrals to psychologists, physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, dietitians, provide information about treatment and liaise with the clinical team. A breast care nurse can provide support, information and navigation for you and your family.

  • What treatment will I have if I am diagnosed with breast cancer?

    Treatment will depend on the type and stage of your cancer and your individual supportive needs. Treatment may involve:

    Surgery: An operation by a surgeon to remove a part of the body affected by cancer.

    Reconstruction surgery: An operation by a reconstructive surgeon to create the shape following removal of cancer. This maybe done at the time of your surgery to remove cancer of a separate procedure at a later time.

    Chemotherapy: The use of anti-cancer drugs to treat cancer by killing cancer cells or slowing their growth.

    Radiotherapy: The use of radiation, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill cancer cells or injure them so they cannot grow or multiply. Also called radiation therapy.

    Hormonal therapies: Treatment that blocks the body’s natural hormones. It is used when the cancer is growing in response to hormones. Also called endocrine therapy.

    Targeted therapies: The prevention or treatment of disease using substances that alter the immune system’s response.

  • If I need help after hours, who do I contact?

    If you have had surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, simply call the ward where you have had your surgery. Alternatively, you can contact the main hospital switch number on (03) 9508 8777 for Cabrini Brighton or (03) 9508 1222 for Cabrini Malvern and they will direct your call. If you need urgent medical treatment, please contact Cabrini Emergency (03) 9508 1500, or call your specialist or an ambulance.

  • Who can I call during working hours?

    You can contact the Cabrini Breast Cancer Care office on (03) 9508 5568 for all assistance. The Breast Care Nurses will help you with all your questions and enquiries.

  • If I am feeling worried or upset, who can I talk to?

    If you have any concerns, please speak to our Breast Care Nurses on (03) 9508 5568. They can make a time with you over the phone or invite you to attend a face-to-face consultation if you would prefer. They have access to our social work team, and can assist you should you need information about access to psychologists or psychiatry.

    We also work with a range of partner groups such as Counterpart that can connect you with other women who have had a similar diagnosis. If you prefer to communicate online, Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) and Counterpart have an online network to support women with breast cancer. We also offer a monthly Breast Cancer support group facilitated by our Breast Care Nurses. Please ask your Breast Care Nurse for further information.

    Please refer to our resources page for further information.

  • How important is food and exercise during treatment?

    Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise when you are undergoing cancer treatment is proven to have profound benefits. Research shows that if you are active and eat well while you have medical treatment, it may improve your quality of life, reduce your risk of cancer recurrence, increase your chance of survival and extend your life.

    However, it can be difficult to know what to eat and how much to exercise. That’s why Cabrini offers cancer patients advice on nutrition and exercise that is backed by science, and tailored to individual circumstances. Our dietitians offer nutritional support during cancer treatment to help you with weight management and advise you on the correct meal choices.

    We also have a team of exercise physiologists to support you with your exercise needs. The cancer journey can take a heavy physical and mental toll on patients, and exercise is a safe and effective way to counteract some of the side effects. The latest evidence suggests regular exercise before, during and/or following cancer treatment decreases the severity of adverse effects. It has also been linked to reduced risk of developing new cancers and conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

    Please ask your specialist for more information, or visit our Allied Health Centre page. The Cancer Oncology Society of Australia’s Position Statement on Exercise in Cancer Care is also a great source of information.

  • Can I participate in a clinical trial?

    One of the benefits of being cared for at Cabrini is our dedication to world-class research. Cabrini’s Oncology Clinical Trials Program enables eligible patients to access pioneering treatments, including immunotherapy and targeted therapies, for a range of cancers. Our program, which was established in 2003, provides state-of-the-art care for cancer patients and continued advancements in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. We achieve this through a combination of research, education and clinical practice.

    Your specialist will discuss any clinical trials offered at Cabrini, or at other hospitals, that you may be eligible for. They may also be able to connect you to relevant special access programs, which can allow patients to receive new drugs before they are subsidised by the government.

  • What can I do to preserve my fertility?

    When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, it’s common to be so overwhelmed with information that they do not think about the impact treatment may have on their ability to have children. For others, their future fertility is all they can think about. We encourage our cancer patients to discuss how their treatment may affect their ability to conceive a child, or maintain a pregnancy, before treatment begins. The choices you make about fertility preservation will be based on your individual circumstances, such as your diagnosis, treatment plan and desire to have children in the future.

    Your Cabrini cancer specialist or general practitioner can refer you to a fertility specialist or a counsellor who can explain the steps you can take to preserve and protect your fertility before, during and after treatment. They will be able to explain the potential impact of treatment on your chances of conceiving and the latest fertility preservation techniques, while understanding the unique time constraints a cancer patient faces.

  • Can a family member or friend stay with me during chemotherapy treatment?

    Yes. Your friends and family are always welcome in the Day Oncology Units as they provide important support during chemotherapy sessions. We ask that you are accompanied by one person for your treatment.

  • Does the Cabrini Breast Cancer Care Service offer radiation therapy?

    Yes. If you need radiotherapy, your surgeon will refer you to a specialist radiation doctor. GenesisCare Radiation Oncology is located at Cabrini Malvern hospital.

  • If my family have questions, can they talk to someone too?

    Yes. We know that a cancer diagnosis affects your loved ones too and we encourage them to seek support. They are welcome to call our Breast Care Nurses to answer any questions they may have.

  • After treatment

    Your specialist will discuss your individual follow-up plan with you and your GP. Generally patients see a doctor regularly for five or more years after cancer treatment finishes.