Pam and Rebecca are Macmillan Breast Reconstruction Clinical Nurse Specialists at the Queen Victoria Hospital and also run a monthly clinic as Micropigmentation Practitoners at The McIndoe Centre.
Breast reconstruction nurses Pam Golton and Rebecca Spencer accompany patients on their entire journey through the process of breast reconstruction – from the first hospital appointment, through surgery, to when they leave hospital and beyond.
When a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, if the cancer is in a large area of the breast, has spread throughout the breast or if the breast is full of pre-cancerous cells, then a mastectomy, an operation to remove the breast, will be recommended. You may be offered breast reconstruction surgery, if appropriate.
Pam and Rebecca work closely with the entire breast care team at the hospital including a psychological therapy team which enables patients to access psychological and emotional support while they cope with the impact of breast cancer on their lives. In addition, they both have active roles within the breast reconstruction charity Restore.
Pam explained: “Breast reconstruction is a long journey and we are there to help co-ordinate and guide the patient through that. As soon as a patient is referred, we send out an information pack so that even before they are seen in outpatients, they can begin to digest the enormous amount of information that surrounds breast reconstruction.”
Patients wanting more support in the decision-making process can go along to a meeting of Restore where they can meet other women who have undergone breast reconstruction and see for themselves the different types of reconstruction.
Rebecca said: “We then go on to support patients in the outpatient clinic appointments when they meet their surgeons, in the pre-assessment department, on the ward after surgery and via telephone consultations on discharge from hospital. We are always available by phone or email and happy to answer any questions or concerns at any stage.”
They added: “Our job is very rewarding. Patients are the focus of everything we do and we strive to always give them the best experience possible. We have just won a staff award for outstanding patient experience after we were nominated by our patients and we felt so humbled and proud to feel that we have made a difference to these ladies’ lives and helped them through a very traumatic time.”
Pam and Rebecca are also Micropigmentation Practitioners and run monthly Saturday morning clinics at The McIndoe Centre. Nipple and areola micropigmentation is a medical tattoo and involves the implantation of pigment into the skin to create the illusion, or enhance, a nipple and areola. Most of the patients have undergone breast construction surgery following a diagnosis of breast cancer or the discovery of a gene mutation.