Bass Coast Health helps breast cancer patients stay locally


Bass Coast Health (BCH) is helping breast cancer patients through a challenging time in their lives by offering a comprehensive care service. 

Patients are able to receive a full suite of medical care locally, from consultations through to surgery and chemotherapy. This convenient service enables patients and their families and carers to focus on recovery and wellbeing, rather than the stress, exhaustion and cost of having to travel further afield for medical consultations and treatment. 

BCH’s partnership with Alfred Health enables patients to see leading oncologists from Alfred Health at Wonthaggi Hospital and undergo surgery in the new state-of-the-art hospital. 

Patients can also receive chemotherapy at the L. Rigby Centre, a dedicated cancer and infusion facility at Wonthaggi Hospital that is full of natural light and wonderful staff. 

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s timely to highlight that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia for women, with approximately 50 breast cancer cases in Bass Coast Shire each year. 

It’s estimated 57 people in Australia will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day this year. 

Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child highlighted that over 20,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia this year, including over 200 men. 

“As the sub-regional health service for Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires, Bass Coast Health takes pride in being able to deliver as many services as possible to our community,” she said.

“We’ve grown our breast cancer surgical team to include Dr Chandika Wewelwala, who now complements our existing surgeon Dr Sarah Birks in offering specialised breast cancer surgery at Wonthaggi Hospital.” 

BCH is also fortunate to have the services of McGrath Breast Care Nurse, Taryn Robinson, funded by the McGrath Foundation. She provides free physical, psychological and emotional support to her clients affected by breast cancer and their families. Taryn has more than 20 years of experience working in oncology, has specialist breast care nurse training, a Post Graduate Diploma in Cancer Care and a Masters in Advanced Nursing Practice.

“As a McGrath Breast Care Nurse, I am able to advocate for patients during what is an incredibly stressful and overwhelming period in their lives,” she said. 

“While they are comprehending their diagnosis and treatment, I’m able to help patients and their families by coordinating their medical care, explain their treatment and offer advice for managing their emotions and symptoms.” 

Taryn is part of a multi-disciplinary team working with clients during their breast cancer experience. The team at Bass Coast Health includes Breast Surgeons Dr Sarah Birks and Dr Chandika Wewelwala, Medical Oncologists, a Radiation Oncologist, Lymphedema Physiotherapist Michelle Mc McMahon, other Allied Health professionals and the L. Rigby Centre team. 

Wonthaggi Hospital also has breastscreening by Breast Screen Victoria onsite. Taryn’s services are free and can be accessed through self-referral – without a doctor’s referral. Taryn can be contacted on or 0417 552 327. For more information, see