Caring for your family

Caring and family-focused general practice a boon for new locals.

Moving from one area to another is a huge life decision. The need to re-organise so many things you would normally take for granted. One of the biggest decisions you will need to make is what doctor you will register with in your new area.

When Rebecca moved to Hoppers Crossing from Elwood, she needed to choose a doctor for her growing family.

Here’s what Rebecca had to say…

“I had had the same female GP for the 10 years whilst living in Elwood. She was fantastic. But to travel all that way to the doctors was just too much,” she says.

“I wanted to find a female GP – preferably bulk billed – that I could see for all my doctors’ appointments. Someone who I would feel comfortable with in regards to talking about anything health-wise”.

“Through my meetings with the reception and nursing staff at Hoppers Lane, they just love their GP clinic and workplace so much, I wanted to come and check it out. I’m glad I did.”

About Hoppers Lane General Practice

Hoppers Lane currently employs 13 full-time GPs, with a good mix of male and female doctors. These Doctors come with a variety of areas of speciality. This means that whatever your concern you can get booked in with someone who has a really in-depth knowledge in that field.

Open six years now, the vision, from the very beginning, was to create a special practice that focused on the little details.

The Practice Manager is Laura Paton. She says it is this focus on looking after families, from grandparents through to their grandchildren that makes working for Hoppers Lane General Practice so rewarding.

“There is a focus on care, on community, and on family. It makes you want to come to work in the morning”.

“Little extras such as looking after elderly patients (the practice holds morning teas regularly) makes it more fun. Sending cards to the families of newborns and even bereavement cards when a loved one passes are all details employed by Hoppers Lane GP. Follow up calls when things are tough can make all the difference. It is a genuine sentiment that people –including the staff—connect with”.

“I am sure, for our patients, it makes them feel cared for and that is what it is all about. We believe that Palliative care is just as important as medical care”.

Rebecca says she loves not only the location (it’s next to the local Mercy Hospital) but the myriad of health services offered all under one roof.

“Knowing I can do blood tests, manage maternity care with scans at Hoppers Lane GP is great. I can get X-rays and prescriptions, it makes healthcare all that much easier.”

The clinic also has an online booking service to save time. Just log in and select your favourite GP and then select an available time. The online service has logged over 700 online bookings every week since it was set up shortly after the opening six years ago.

“When you arrive at the clinic, there is a computer that you can check-in on and confirm your appointment. Then you just take a seat, knowing you’ll be seeing the doctor you want to see. At previous clinics, I’ve never had access to technology like that,” Rebecca says. “It is a comforting place to return to when you are unwell.”

Hoppers Lane General Practice Clinic, 242 Hoppers Lane, Werribee. Opens 8am-11pm Monday-Friday and 9am-5.30pm weekends and public holidays. Telephone: 8731 6500 or visit hopperslanegp.com.au

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women, affecting more than 15,000 Australians each year. Researchers are discovering how and why breast cancers start. This extensive research is helping to advance better treatments for breast cancer.

Breast cancer research

Current Breast cancer research is focussing on:

Revealing the link between breast stem cells, breast development and breast cancer. Discovering how the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are linked. Indicators suggest that they lead to an increased risk.
Testing the effectiveness of new anti-cancer medications.

Leading clinical trials aimed at improving treatments.
Developing new ways to match breast cancer patients to the best treatment for their disease.

What is breast cancer?

Breast cancer arises from cells within the breast that accumulate changes to their DNA. These genetic mutations allow them to grow in an uncontrolled manner.

The structure of the breast is designed and works to produce and secrete milk from the nipple. Most breast cancers arise from cells in the breast ducts, which would usually transport milk to the nipple. Some cancers develop from cells in the milk-producing lobules themselves. It is rare for cancers to come from other structures in the breast such as fat or lymphatic vessels.

Breast cancers begin as a small, confined tumour. These can grow and spread throughout the breast. Early growths that are ‘pre-invasive’ as they have not left the ducts are termed DCIS, short for ‘Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. Invasive cancers are often described as ductal or lobular, based on their appearance using a microscope.

Some breast cancer cells may develop further changes that then results in their escape from the breast. They travel through lymphatic vessels to lymph nodes, or they may spread through the blood to other organs. This process is called ‘metastasis’.

Breast cancer risk factors

Most breast cancers arise ‘spontaneously’, with no identifiable reason. Around 5% of Australian breast cancer cases are ‘hereditary’. This means the patient carries an inherited breast cancer risk gene, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. This puts them at elevated risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Other factors that increase a person’s risk of developing breast cancer include:

Gender: females are at a much higher risk developing breast cancer, but breast cancer can occur in men
Older age: like many cancers, the risk of developing breast cancer increases with age – about 80% arise after age 50

Exposure of breast cells to female hormones Excessive alcohol consumption
Obesity
Exposure to high doses of radiation

How is breast cancer treated?

Breast cancers that are confined to the breast, or have not spread beyond the lymph nodes can often be cured. Treatment depends on the precise tumour features and may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy, that blocks the action of oestrogen

Metastatic breast cancer, which has spread further in the body, is often treated with chemotherapy or hormonal therapy. The treatment chosen will depend on the tumour itself and the patient

In some cases, treatments are designed to specifically target particular molecules that are promoting cancer growth.

Some of the signs to look out for which may indicate Breast Cancer include:

  • Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
  • Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
  • Breast or nipple pain.
  • Nipple retraction (turning inward)
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
  • Nipple discharge (other than breastmilk)

What to do if you have concerns?

If you have any concerns at all you should make an appointment to visit your GP. They will be able to refer you to the right people for correct investigation. They will also be able to show you how to self-examine which is a vital step in maintaining the health of your breasts.