Special Care for Breast Cancer Patients

September 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The diagnosis of breast cancer is a woman's worst fear but today's treatments are working wonders. Still, the human touch remains very much a part of recovery. And a pair of Central Valley nurses is setting a powerful example here and across the nation.You'll find them inside an ordinary office building in north east Fresno where something out of the ordinary has occurred. Susan Dunn and Carolyn Gaston, two registered oncology nurses work here. Between them the two have more than 40 years of experience working with breast cancer patients. And now they are among just 120 certified nurses across America who have been certified in the new Breast Cancer Care sub-specialty. Lori Budd, one of their breast cancer patients is not surprised at that news, "They're fun, they're light hearted, they're competent, and they're experts at what they do."

She should know. Lori Budd has been a cancer patient and survivor for eight and a half years being treated at California Oncology of Central California where they work.

When we visited the clinic they were both busy in a shared infusion room where nearly a dozen patients were receiving treatment. Gaston tended to a somewhat nervous patient with skill and care, "Ok, the worst part's over, you can open your eyes now," she told the woman and then told us, "It's a privilege to get to go through this part of someone's life with them."

New breakthroughs and refinement of breast cancer treatment led to this new nursing certification says Susan Dunn who was checking on another patient as we talked, "Are you having any bone pain from those injections?"

The pair work closely together every day and did the same while preparing for the certification test they both took this spring. Dunn was confident from the beginning, "We see the most breast cancer patients in this area and it was really to validate what we did already."

Traci Taylor's is one of those patients. She too has battled breast cancer for more than 8 years. She too expected these nurses to succeed, "That doesn't surprise me at all. They are awesome!" Taylor's breast cancer spread to her liver still she battles it with the help of her family and her breast cancer team, "I just hope for the best and go on with my life just as normal as I can." The wife and mother of two sons is grateful for the past eight years seeing her boys grow to young adults from children and to have the time with her husband. She remains optimistic.

That is a goal these nationally recognized breast cancer treatment nurses share. Susan Dunn, "I receive more from my patients then I'm able to give them." So does Carolyn Gaston, "It's the patients!" she told us gesturing toward them, "They're wonderful."

RELATED LINKS:
http://www.oncc.org/about/
http://www.oncc.org/getcertified/

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