Breast Cancer Nurse advises on Hollywood blockbuster film

A nurse from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has advised on the accurate portrayal of breast cancer in a new Hollywood blockbuster film, Miss You Already, released on Friday 25 September.

Victoria (Vickki) Harmer, a team leader and clinical nurse specialist at the Trust’s breast care unit, helped Hollywood A-lister star, Toni Collette to accurately portray the story of inseparable best friends, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore) when Milly is diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

Vickki’s role as medical adviser on the film began with her reading the scripts and working with the writer to make sure the film is true to life. During filming Vickki worked closely with the production team and actors themselves, especially Toni Collette, to ensure the film gave a realistic and credible portrayal of the illness. She also worked on set with departments such as wardrobe, hair, make-up and props to make sure the scenes were as accurate as possible.

Vickki said:

“Advising on films and television programmes is a role I take very seriously, alongside my traditional clinical duties. Fictional storylines are a valuable tool in helping the public to understand the importance of looking after their health and the processes involved should they need to come into hospital for treatment.

“One of my roles as medical adviser was to ensure the postoperative scenes were realistic, and to provide instruction about the placement and positioning of wound dressings and vacuum drains. It was fun to watch those scenes at a special screening for cast and crew, remembering that I was crouching just out of shot while filming took place.”

Vickki has previously advised on breast cancer storylines for television and radio programmes including EastEnders, Coronation Street and The Archers. When Vickki is not advising on films she manages team of nurses at the Trust who help guide women and their families though breast cancer from screening, to treatment and beyond. She also runs a specialist nipple tattoo clinic for women who have their breasts reconstructed follow surgery.

Miss You Already will be released in the UK on Friday 25 September 2015 and October breast cancer awareness month.


Notes to editors

Miss You Already is a comedy-drama directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Morwenna Banks. The film stars Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine, Frances de la Tour and Jacqueline Bisset.

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