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Thankful for the PA's care

Wednesday 24 March 2021

The PA Hospital and the staff within its walls hold a special place in Shirley Dashevici's heart having helped her overcome both breast and skin cancer.

Shirley's cancer journey began in 2017 when a mammogram identified a lump in her left breast which turned out to be a triple-negative, stage one grade three breast cancer. Shirley was referred for minor surgery on the lump at the PA, which was followed by 16 sessions of radiation.

Following her brush with breast cancer, Shirley's GP identified a melanoma on her right arm the following year, while talking to doctors at the PA about her melanoma, Shirley had the presence of mind to ask about another mole on her chest which turned out to be a Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Shirley Dashevici

"The GP hadn't picked that one up, but it used to bother me. It was a little bit of a lump and sitting right in your chest there that bothered me, so I thought, "Look, I'm here at the PA, I'll ask him, 'Is it possible for you to have a look at that?'" and he said, "Well, yes, of course."

"I was very glad about that because it turned out to be a squamous cell carcinoma, so we got rid of that. Another time at PA, I had a couple on the sides of my face removed as well. I'm pretty sure that they were just basal cell carcinomas."

The Shailer Park resident said the primary aspect of her care at the PA that she appreciate the most was the accessibility and openness of the doctors and nurses who cared for her.

"I was taken well care of. From start to end, I'd like to say it's finished but it hasn't as I still go in for check-ups and follow-ups, but from the very start and going right through, the treatment and level of care have been extremely good," she said.

"When I've needed to speak to a nurse or someone, I've been able to get them on the phone. If you have some questions, if you couldn't get them there and then, they will always ring you back."

"They are honest and let know when you come for consultations, that the room is full, and they'll have a sign up saying that there's going to be a wait this afternoon. That's just part of the process.

"But you are going to get attended to; someone is going to call your name, and someone is going to talk to you and bring you up to date.

"You're going to be able to communicate with them about any symptoms that you've got, any fears that you've got, et cetera, et cetera. Honestly, they do a very good job."

Soon to be a grandmother for the first time, Shirley said she takes comfort in knowing that as a regular giver to the PA Research Foundation, her generosity contributes towards cancer research, adding that it was her way of saying thank you for the care she received at PA.

"The thing is, it's not only breast cancer but other kinds of cancer as well that I wanted to support research in because we're seeing so much more of it these days," she said.

"Any help that I can give I will because we need more answers out there to know how to deal with this.

"$12 a month is nothing. But, a tiny way of saying, "I appreciate what I am receiving as far as ongoing treatment is concerned."

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