After starting a few months ago as a new surgeon for Griffith Base Hospital, Dr S.C.Kate FitzGerald reveals the many different facets which makes her tick.
Sharing the behind-the-scenes experience of dealing with breast cancer patients, her journey and approach to breast surgery has continually evolved.
After exploring different methodologies and making break-throughs in surgery leading the way for the rest of the world, Griffith as home will present it’s own rewards and challenges as a general surgeon.
She says there is some misconception that her job is just operating on patients – however it goes beyond the surgical room.
“I don’t know how to say it - but I was good at giving bad news. I knew that telling someone they have cancer wasn’t the end of it,” she said.
Giving patients the news they have cancer is challenging to say the least, however Dr FitzGerald has found her way of breaking the news while giving hope for the future.
“You can give hope at the end of the tunnel, and with a lot of breast cancers, it’s a chronic disease almost. It’s not the end of the world or the end of life, and if you can give people a bit of hope and realise that there are options out there, it doesn’t always mean mastectomy.”
Her sub-specialist interest in the management of breast disease and people with breast cancer means she has experienced many reactions to her saying “you have breast cancer.”
“It varies. And it is not an age thing. I’ve seen young women in their 40’s who just want to get rid of it all, not wanting a reconstruction, they don’t care, and I have seen a woman who was well into her 70s who said she cannot not have a breast.
“People who say they just want it gone - I will say what you have to think about is in 20 years time because that is what we are thinking about when we start treatment.”
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