Women with Cancer

Join our Survivorship Revolution

5 STEPS FOR SUCCESS - DON’T GO IT ALONE
Only you can make your needs known if you know something is not right with your health
Persist until you get an accurate diagnosis – do not be put off.
Seek many opinions if necessary.
It is OK to feel traumatised – this acts out differently in different people.
Acknowledge your trauma. Tell your story to someone who can listen and not try to “fix” you.
Your Cancer Navigator, Grace Gawler, veteran of 28 surgeries including gynaecological, colon and breast. 47 years experience in supportive care. Scroll to read Grace’s story

How we help women with cancer

About breast cancer:

When it comes to cancer, knowledge is power!

Did you know all breast cancers are not the same?

There are at least 14+ types of breast cancer and they behave differently! For example; some tend to grow slowly while others grow rapidly. 

Some metastasise to various organs; others spread to bone. Each breast cancer has its own molecular signature, like a fingerprint.

Genomic testing can identify & recommend targeted treatments for your particular type of breast cancer. For more information contact Grace.

The Grace Gawler Institute Cancer Navigation Services

Always explore the possibilities

About ovarian cancer:

As with breast cancer there are many different types of ovarian cancer. Again there are more than 14 different types. Because of the silent nature of ovarian cancer it is imperative that you are correctly diagnosed at the outset. 

Similarly, genomic testing is essential to determine the type of ovarian cancer that you have. 

If you have simply been diagnosed with ovarian cancer you need to follow up on the exact type this may not be offered to standard of care medicine. Another case of where knowledge is Power. Contact Grace for more information

If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer you will greatly benefit from a survivorship care plan which will provide you with an intensive guidance and monitoring.

Consider making the impossible possible

Other gynaecological cancers:
These include uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulval cancer.

I have a wealth of experience in assisting women with gynaecological cancers. Emotional support and counselling from an experienced navigator can value add to your treatment outcomes.

Genomic testing can also assist in finding the right treatment for your gynaecological cancer type.

 

Don't give up Hope, even when doctors say nothing can be done

MY STORY: November 1997, my husband had recently left the family home. I found myself coping alone as a single mum with 3 teenagers and one young adult, a farm, 14 horses and a lot of debt. It was a scary situation to be in and one I had ill prepared for. In December 1997, while carrying a bale of lucerne hay, I suffered a complete prolapse of my uterus which left me with no option but reparative surgery.

Immediately after the procedure I suffered from a total inability to evacuate my lower colon; nerve damage.  I knew I was in deep trouble. I had developed megacolon and the next 3+years were highly challenging. I found myself on a surgical merry-go-round.

By October 2001, a substantial portion of my large bowel had to be removed due to impaction; a series of ileostomies and colostomies followed, along with removal of more portions of damaged colon, including a substantial portion of my small bowel.

The Grace Gawler Institute
Left picture, Grace 2001, ileostomy and colon removal. Right-hand side top, Grace’s surgical team in the Netherlands 2003. Right, the bionic device that gave Grace her life back

Previously I had been a healthy, independent and robust person, then, suddenly, overnight I had become a patient who had an uncertain survival. Plagued by ostomy leakages and herniated stomas after failed surgeries, in 2002,  in the Netherlands, I underwent an experimental procedure aimed at restoring nerve supply via a bionic device and electrodes inserted into my spine. 

The procedure successfully restored my rectal function. No more need for bags. The full story is recounted in my autobiography, Grace Grit and Gratitude. Later followed a diagnosis of breast cancer, not just one breast cancer, but three different types contained in one tumour. I underwent a mastectomy.

Many of you who are reading this page will likely have encountered negative opinions. I had to push past the negativity of friends and health professionals. Undaunted, I went the extra mile to find the right treatment. In turn, I was empowered to choose the right team of health specialists.

This is me in 2003. I presented the Penny Brohn Memorial lecture for the Bristol Cancer help Centre in the UK.

I can say from first-hand experience, don’t give up Hope, even when people say nothing can be done. I am where I am today because of my tenacity and determination to recover, along with an enquiring mind.

You never know what might come along to heal you; just be sure to recognise it and not let opportunities pass you by.

Listen to Grace’s story:
Podcast BBC, UK. Grace interview. Attitudinal Strategies for Survival

I offer navigation assistance for women with other cancers

All cancers listed above will benefit from genomic testing

Explore your Possibilities Today

Talk to Grace, our experienced cancer navigator today. Most patients say it was a life changing conversation & wish they found her sooner...
Grace Gawler