2021: Expanded Services for Women with Breast Cancer
Getting Started: I suggest you explore this page (and site) thoroughly to learn of the safe and innovative cancer therapies that I help my patients to access via the exceptional cancer experts in my national & international networks.
The Grace Gawler Institute offers a unique service bridging the gaps between supportive care medicine and hi-tech minimally invasive treatments.
We offer assistance to patients with all types of breast cancer including those that are difficult to treat such as triple negative breast cancer
Dedication and Passion
Breast Cancer Navigator, Grace Gawler, has first-hand appreciation of the cancer journey in the roles of…
Cancer Charity Director
Grace Gawler says – “At 21 years of age during the 1970’s, I became sole caregiver to an amputee cancer patient deemed palliative in a time when cancer support systems were non-existent.
During my early 40’s I experienced separation and divorce with a life challenging colon condition, surgically induced during a hysterectomy. Many years of surgical procedures followed including a successful world-first “bionic implant” surgery performed in the Netherlands. This meant no more ileostomy or colostomy bags!
Later, I experienced breast cancer requiring 4 surgeries including and a mastectomy.
As a veteran of these diverse life experiences; I appreciate first-hand the reality of walking in the shoes of both caregiver and patient.”
So that you can feel confident in Grace’s skills as a breast cancer navigator, we invite you to explore her Cancer Service Milestones here.
Trusted Breast Cancer Navigation – You don’t have to go it alone!
Every ship needs an independent cancer navigator to guide them through treacherous waters. Your Survivor-Ship is no different. Your cancer diagnosis requires you to sail in uncharted waters. You can trust a cancer navigator with 46 years’ experience who has chartered the way forward for thousands of patients before you.
The Grace Gawler Institute offers various levels of breast cancer navigation services. Whether early in your diagnosis, late stage or dealing with a recurrence, we suggest beginning with a video call to ascertain your needs and explore how we can best help you.
Surviving Survival: Most women with breast cancer think about survival…
But have you thought about surviving survival?
Surviving Survival: Life plays itself out like the acts of an opera. There are various stages. As we live, we experience rollercoasters of emotions, highs and lows, agonies and ecstasies, crises, joys, and sorrows to name but a few. A diagnosis of breast cancer usually appears from left field!
A breast cancer diagnosis tends to amplify these experiences and emotions; you may have weathered many storms in life and have somehow gotten through it all- you have been surviving life!
Then there is a realisation; breast cancer presents the threat of losing your life prematurely. However, with knowledge and understanding, this crisis can be the very instigator to help you to find your life!
Supportive care medicine is a type of complementary medicine. Supportive care is a healing tool not just a prop. Most people who experience breast cancer, at some stage of the illness, are likely to have used some form of complementary healthcare, counselling, or therapy group.
You may have learned about self-care, living a passion, been to a group, told your story to someone who really listened, and, you have survived thus far. Or, perhaps you are you new to the breast cancer journey. Whatever place you are on the breast cancer timeline, I believe you will gain precious insights from this article and or from reading my book on emotional healing and breast cancer; Women of Silence.
Stages in a woman’s breast cancer experience: *The early stages of diagnosis can be remarkably busy and very traumatising. Diagnosis, surgery, treatment plan, treatment phase, end of treatment, the waiting post-treatment stage, the “will I be okay” time as weeks and months pass by? At this latter stage, fear, depression, and anxiety can be amplified. The good news is I have met some incredibly resilient ladies who have had five or six recurrences and are still living well. To view Surviving Survival videos scroll to end of page…
Now it is time to tell you how we help you to make the seemingly impossible - possible
Interpreting your initial results?
General Pathology/histopathology: If you have had a biopsy or surgery to remove tissue (lumpectomy) or mastectomy you will have received a report called a histopathology report. This report is the first technical understanding of the type of tumour you have and if its growth has been flared by hormones or if it is HER2 positive or negative. This is important information, please request that your surgeon or oncologist explains the results; and that you understand their explanation.
A test called immuno-histochemistry (IHC) uses the principle of antibodies binding specifically to antigens in biological tissues to detect the antigens (e.g. proteins) in cells of a tissue specimen.
Genomic Diagnostics can then be performed on the same tissue (or if required, on a new tissue biopsy or where appropriate; a blood sample can be taken (called a liquid biopsy) to measure and qualify DNA mutations in your blood.
How genomic diagnostic testing can help you?
The Grace Gawler Institute refers patients for genomic testing via a leading Australian pathology laboratory. Internationally recognised, these high-calibre tests are not available in Australian and New Zealand hospitals as yet.
Below is a sample of Tests we can arrange for you:
*DNA tests that determine your targeted treatments.
*Gene tests that indicate your body’s ability to metabolise your targeted treatments.
*Gene tests that determine your suitability for radiation treatment.
*There are a variety of other genomic tests that help ensure good outcomes with the intention of minimising side effects.
Drug Based Immune Therapies:
Patients should be aware there is a test called Tumour Mutational Load (TML). Results of this test can provide patients and their oncologists with an indication as to whether or not a drug based immunotherapy can work for you. (anti-PD1 immune therapy). At some stage experimental immunotherapy may be offered to you, however; it is unlikely that TML testing will be offered to you. You will need to request it.
Genomic diagnostics - Your First Step
Genomic diagnostics is the important first step when pursuing personalised cancer medicine. The aim is to discover more information about the nature and behaviour of your cancer.
Once this information is made available – a world of possibilities for various targeted and personalised treatments can be made accessible to you with guidance along the way.
Treatments often include high tech medical treatments; sometimes used to debulk tumours, designer anti-cancer pharmaceuticals to target specific DNA mutations, complementary medicines targeted and prescribed for your “brand” of tumour type.
Add to this specific nutritional advice based upon gene testing results and a gene test that can determine “how” you metabolise
Our cancer treatment experts are located around Australia as well as internationally. Due to Covid 19 – all overseas referrals are currently suspended until further notice.
It is likely that you have arrived at this page because you currently have breast cancer or have had breast cancer, or you are dealing with a recurrence. Experience tells me that reading about survival and survivorship is a good place to begin your journey! This may sound like a paradox, but learning about the end goal of the breast cancer journey, to survive and thrive, can help you to understand breast cancer and therefore help you to design your health restoration plan now.
Grace Gawler says: “Whether or not you are early in your diagnosis or have just learned of a recurrence; the more you explore my methods in supportive care medicine matched with hi tech cancer diagnostics and treatments; the more informed and successful your journey can be.”
Grace continues, “My approach is unique and will help you to understand the journey of breast cancer. Currently based on 45 years’ experience, I pioneered Australia’s first breast cancer support groups and residential programs for women with breast cancer in the late 80’s”.
Grace Gawler received the inaugural Rotary International Jean Harris award for this pioneering work for women. Grace recognised that a “safe space” was needed for women with breast cancer where they could communicate their experiences with other fellow patients. With gentle guidance women felt safe, and in that space were able to share an abundance of authentic stories. These “teaching stories” formed the basis for the first and still the only book written about emotional healing and breast cancer: “Women of Silence”. Because of Grace’s unique support group model, she was an invited by then Victorian Health Minister Marie Tehan, to join the first Ministerial Advisory committee for Women’s Health, actively serving until 1999.
Women of Silence, a best-seller for its genre; is as relevant today as it was when the 1st edition appeared in 1994, re-edited 2003. Perhaps in today’s world, where it is so easy to get lost in the cancer maze; my book can bring some sanity to the complexity of options. I wrote Women of Silence to empower women, to show women how they could value add to the outcome of their cancer situation. Purchase Women of Silence Here