Thursday, February 15, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Pink Special For Breast Care Nurses

For Karen Linich and Denise McCallum, becoming a McGrath Breast Care Nurse was an honour and a privilege, a decision that has allowed them to assist and support all breast cancer patients with quality care and upmost confidence.

Karen started her nursing journey at the age of 18, beginning her training in New South Wales, before she specialised in surgical nursing. She transitioned to clinical nursing and nurse counselling, primarily working within regional BreastScreen, where she excelled in the role for nine years.

In 2016, Karen and her family relocated to Mackay, and she picked up the helm of the Mackay region’s BreastScreen, before she moved into the role as a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in Mackay in 2020.

“I have a genuine heartbeat for people,” Karen shared.

“Being in the nursing role, my natural affection for people thrives, and my care blossoms and grows.”

Within her role as McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Karen works closely with the men and women in our region that are afflicted with breast cancer, primarily in the early treatment phase.

“When I look back on my career, I wouldn’t have thought I would work with breast cancer,” Karen explained.

“But now, I wouldn’t have it any other way!”

While she acknowledges that she cannot change the diagnoses, or change the necessary treatment, Karen is grateful for the influence she does have on her patients.

“I can’t change the situation, but if today, just today, I can make them feel that little bit better, that is the most important thing,” she shared.

“I am honoured and feel incredibly privileged to be a part of my patient’s cancer journey, demystifying the clinical information, as a listening ear, a helping connection, or providing tips for care.”

Karen is joined by Denise McCallum, who’s newer to the role but no less experienced. Having been a registered nurse since 2013, Denise signed onto the role as a McGrath Breast Care Nurse in 2023.

As McGrath Breast Care Nurses, Karen and Denise offer supportive care services, information, and resource.

“We are often a thread that holds people together, with their various specialist appointments,” Karen explained.

“We are forever grateful for the impact, even minor, we have on their cancer journey.”

Karen has attended the Bowen Pink Stumps Day since becoming a Mackay based McGrath Breast Care Nurse in 2020, and is always grateful to share her knowledge with ladies.

“Everyone has access to a McGrath Breast Care Nurse. Bowen is the northern end of our catchment, so myself and Denise service everyone from Bowen, Collinsville, Cannonvale and Airlie Beach, all the way to Drystart, Moranbah, Mackay and Saint Lawerence,” Karen explained.

“We are only as far away as a phone call.”

At the Bowen Pink Stumps Day, Karen and Denise will join the likes of Glenn McGrath, Mackay surgeon and Clinical Director of Surgery Mackay Base Hospital Dr Adrian Westcott, seeing Bowen patients in Proserpine Outreach clinics, amongst others sharing breast cancer awareness.

“We just want to be a speed bump in a patient’s health journey.”

Breast Cancer Statistics

1/7 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2024

57 individuals will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day in Australia

In 2024, 20,400 women and 217 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer

   1. Karen Linich, one of the friendly faces McGrath Breast Cancer Nurses in Mackay

   2. The McGrath Breast Cancer Nurses have helped over 127,000 families across Australia, since 2005. Photos supplied

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