Julieanne was diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer, which came as a shock to the mum of two small kids despite regular screenings for two decades. Since diagnosis in late 2020 she has undergone aggressive chemotherapy, radiation, brachytherapy and has recently been treated surgically for a recurrence, something not often encouraged on radiated tissues. She has learnt the hard way about managing disease that is silent in symptoms, has a low prognosis, and is normally screened away or treated at stages much earlier than hers.
Julieanne has been approaching both her own treatment journey and patient advocacy through a lens of patient empowerment, through communication through dialogue and information transparency. She feels strongly about the importance of patient and treatment team working hand in hand, including asking lots of hard questions to develop trust and patient comfort within and across the multi-disciplinary team that Lifehouse actively makes possible. She engages closely with her oncologists across gynaecology, medical, radiation and integrative therapies about understanding her diagnostics and treatment, how her cancer presents and how to maximise her treatment durability, while on the lookout for latest research across all treatment modalities (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy, trials and genomic testing and other developments).
With that in mind, she is a firm champion of Lifehouse’s Living Room team and the benefits that integrative oncology achieves alongside conventional therapies to maintain quality of life and care during treatment, including guided exercise physiology, medicinal cannabis and oncology nursing support. She has regularly accessed the services of the team, including both oncology massage and psycho-oncology while in the Day Therapy chair to support her chemotherapy treatment.
With a professional background in public policy and design, her focus as a member of the Partnership Advisory Council is on patient-centric communication, equity of access to care, and raising awareness of patient vulnerability from the pressures of diagnosis and technical jargon, treatment and adverse effects, recovery and survivorship.