WHEN Penny Taylor was lying in her hospital bed, her head was spinning with information. In her cancer treatment, Penny clung to hear from people with real experience of what she was going though – she craved to frequently know someone else had endured this.
Penny decided a podcast could really help others across the Grampians in their treatment journeys.
The cancer survivor and ABC broadcaster has created a five-part series covering people newly diagnosed with cancer across the region would most need to know, in partnership with Grampians Integrated Cancer Service consumer advisory group.
“I suggested the idea to the group as a helpful way of giving people a way of speaking about cancer and treatment in a realistic way,” Penny said.
“When you’re diagnosed, you get a lot of brochures, and these are beautifully written and are important, but I thought it could be more useful to also have a real person talking from real experience...You can listen to a podcast again and again. Sometimes, it can take awhile for information to sink in.”
Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 after finding a lump. Her general practitioner Sam Shalaby sent her straight for testing.
New to Ballarat, Penny said it was so eye-opening how much the community rallied around you and the passion of health professionals who specialise in cancer.
Penny is well-known in the region for her Baby Talk podcast. She said there were lots of similarities in that cancer was a learning curve where you had a big change, a lot of medical information thrown at you, a lot of well-meaning advice from friends heaped in. It could be overwhelming.
The podcast introduces patients to a Cancer Council’s helpline volunteers and Ballarat specialists in surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and Aboriginal Health.
“Part of having cancer means you’re never really free of cancer. I’m always going back for checks. I’ve found a lot of the health professionals I work with are really part of the family now,” Penny said.
“It is still terrifying but I take a lot of confidence in the treatment we have here in Ballarat.”
“While it was really terrifying for me to find a lump, what was more terrifying for me was if I hadn’t found the lump or if I had ignored it.”
Cancer Survivor Guide podcast can be found on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and cancersurvivorguide.com.
Cancer Council Helpline – 13 11 20
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