HELPING HAND: McGrath breast care nurse Ashlee Stirling has been in the job in Warwick since March.
HELPING HAND: McGrath breast care nurse Ashlee Stirling has been in the job in Warwick since March. Elyse Wurm

'It's really fast-moving...their whole life is uncertain'

TWO years ago Ashlee Stirling and her husband Shane were passing through Yangan when they saw a block of land and decided to buy it.

They chopped their Queenslander home into three pieces and moved it from Brisbane to the small Southern Downs town, along with their three children.

The couple moved with no jobs or plans, but everything fell into place and Mrs Stirling is now working in a job she loves as a McGrath breast care nurse based at Warwick Hospital.

"It's been the best thing we've ever done, the kids really love it," she said.

Having worked as a paediatric nurse and lactation consultant, Mrs Stirling secured a job as a nurse at the hospital.

In March she took on her new role as a breast nurse with a foundation she admires.

With one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 85, and 148 men diagnosed in Australia each year, Mrs Stirling said her position was invaluable.

"Their life is thrown into turmoil," Mrs Stirling said.

"It's really fast-moving, there's lots of appointments and emotionally it's stressful, their whole life is uncertain now."

Mrs Stirling provides emotional, physical and psychological support for free and without the need for a referral to support people with breast cancer.

This could mean accompanying people to appointments, explaining medical jargon or educating people about what comes next.

Mrs Stirling said there were also challenges associated with battling the cancer in a rural area, such as transport and the financial cost of travelling to appointments in bigger cities.

"I can be that central person and liaise with everybody in the treating hospital," she said.

"It means that you're not alone and have a specialist in the area that's easily accessible for questions or concerns."

With early detection being the key to battling many cancers, Mrs Stirling said monthly self breast checks were important for both men and women in Warwick.

To contact Mrs Stirling phone 0408244720.



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