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The lump that changed her life: Meet Dr Charlotte Tottman

Trigger warning: This podcast discusses cancer, which some listeners may find distressing

For years, Dr Charlotte Tottman has been working with patients as a Clinical Psychologist, specialising in cancer-related psychological distress. A cancer diagnosis can be an incredibly difficult time for the person diagnosed with cancer, as well as the friends, family and community around them.

At around at 40, Dr Tottman decided she wanted to reshape her corporate career and return to university to study psychology. It was during her third placement as part of her professional training in psycho-oncology that she found her career niche. Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Dr Tottman provides psychological therapies to help her patients navigate post-treatment adjustments.

Three years ago, while on holiday, Charlotte was applying sunscreen under her bikini line and her hand grazed a small lump. The lump didn’t alarm her, but she made a mental note to have it checked when she got back home. It was dismissed as benign, but the 54-year-old mother of four decided to get a second opinion. Dr Tottman was then diagnosed with breast cancer.

Dr Tottman shares her experience navigating a breast cancer diagnosis, what she learned about herself, and how it has shaped her career going forward. She speaks candidly about taking a breather alone after burning out, why she exercises every morning, and learning to be vulnerable.

When you finish this episode, be sure to check out Upfront About Breast Cancer ‘What you don’t know until you do’, a 10-part podcast series with Dr Tottman via bcna.org.au.

Tune into the Fernwood Podcast and listen to another fabulous episode. Simply search for Fernwood Shine on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, click download, and listen in.

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