Read the latest news from the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust.

Clinical trial “ Examining Personalised Radiation Therapy (EXPERT) for low-risk early breast cancer

The current standard of care for women with early breast cancer is radiation therapy after breast conserving surgery to reduce risk of recurrence and improve survival. However, breast cancer is a complex disease and the absolute benefit of radiation therapy in individual patients varies substantially. 

The EXPERT clinical trial is investigating whether a laboratory test called a genomic assay can help doctors select out women with low risk breast cancer, who may be able to avoid radiotherapy and its associated side effects.This research aims to improve personalised use of radiation therapy in early breast cancer patients, according to individual risk of local recurrence.

Waikato Hospital is a centre for this international clinical trial coordinated by Breast Cancer Trials Australian & New Zealand. Other centres in New Zealand are Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch Hospitals.

To learn more visit: https://www.breastcancertrials.org.au/current-clinical-trials/expert

Cancer through the eyes of a husband, my wife’s breast cancer journey

It all started with a lump in the right breast that was noticeably growing daily. A biopsy revealed that the tumour was cancerous and positive to three receptors and it needed to be removed asap. But first we needed chemo to shrink the tumour as it was now 75 x 50mm. 

The first chemo almost didn’t happen as my wife’s blood count was low. This is when we realised this was serious. We debated with our oncologist and eventually we continued with the first chemo. Lucky for us the blood count improved and we were able continue with the full treatment.

We had just dodged our first bullet. From now on we needed a plan.  The anxiety we had just experienced was horrific. We needed to change our mind set if we had any chance of beating this. We needed to manage what we could control and not worry about what we had no control over.

Don’t worry about blood test, bone scan or CT scan results.  Once we had a result, good or bad, the sooner we could plan the next step. Knowing is better than not knowing. The result wasn’t the issue, anxiety and managing stress were, so how do you mitigate these feelings.

Understand and be prepared to ask the medical team any questions, as you need to have confidence in them. If it is not working or you are unhappy, change your doctor. They are there to help and will not be offended. We were very open with everyone. This way we never had to confront someone who didn’t know where we were at.

We set goals. At the time we owned a retail shop. We sold the shop. My wife had always wanted to be a qualified primary school teacher. We enrolled at university. This also gave her something to focus on and stopped the mind wandering. Chemo is hard, but this was the drive to get out of bed and to keep going. After three years she qualified and was given her own class.

Well before we started losing the battle with breast cancer my wife wrote future birthday cards for her daughter till she was 21. This was hard, but so rewarding and another box ticked. I never asked how are you feeling? I saw my role was to support and create a positive environment for everyone, as this would be the best way to beat this disease.  

Celebrating our volunteers

National Volunteer Week celebrates the collective contribution of the 1.2 million volunteers who enrich Aotearoa New Zealand. National Volunteer Week 2019 runs from June 16-22. This year’s theme is “Whiria te tangata – weaving the people together”.

Here at the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust we are very fortunate to have several people who volunteer their time to support us with our events and fundraising efforts. Volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action weave people and communities together and one volunteer in particular is our angel and over the past two and a half years Margaret Jenkins has been a part of our team every week for a few hours.

Marg’s network of contacts has enabled her to secure incredible auction items for our ‘Best Of’ functions, spot prizes and raffles prizes for our annual Pink Walk and Button Run, and goody bag items for our bi-annual Breast Cancer Conference. She also connects the Trust with the media for advertising. Her wealth of knowledge of marketing and communications has been invaluable to us, as well as her experience of building relationships with people.

“I’m passionate about supporting the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust. The team and what they do for women’s survival, and the difference they make to families is incredible. I understand the importance of having parents in your life until you’re an adult yourself, and clinical trials research is fighting for the very best outcomes for women so they can be there in the future with their family.”

We celebrated Marg with a morning tea this week and gifted her with flowers, a voucher and card. Her energy, passion and commitment holds us together, quite fitting given we believe that mothers are like buttons; holding everything together and enables us to really make our events the ‘best of’.

A very active member in her community, Marg is also a Rotarian and volunteers at Kaivolution and is part of the Native Plant Restoration Trust. There is no doubt she is “Whiria te tangata – weaving the people together”.

St Paul’s Collegiate fundraiser

Every year the Harington girls at St Paul’s Collegiate hold a fashion show to showcase their talents. It also forms part of their house competition. They then choose a charity that they want the proceeds of the ticket sales to go to. This year they chose the WBCRT to receive their funds raised, as the guest speaker for the event, Sacha Coburn, is a breast cancer survivor. Well gone girls, $650 was raised!

Speaker Sacha Coburn talked about being a breast cancer survivor and how her partner and she became owners of Coffee Culture cafes. She spoke of life as a young couple with a baby and absolutely no money. If they had visitors, she would check the couch after they had left to see whether any coins had dropped out of their pockets. She also spoke of everyone having something they were good at and learning to recognise what that was.

True. Best Friends

A heartfelt thank you to True. for hosting a wonderful evening last night to raise funds for Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust.

The ‘Sip & Shop’ event packed out the store and we feel very humbled by the generosity of True, their event sponsors that provided food, drink, decorations and auction items as well as all those that attended.

One of the most common reasons women give when consenting to participate in a clinical research trial of an experimental treatment, is that they want to contribute to knowledge for future generations of women diagnosed with breast cancer.  With the fundraising efforts of True, they have assisted with supporting these Waikato women with helping  gain knowledge and save lives for the generations to come.

#TrueBrEaSTfriend #Fundraising #Brightasabutton #Mothersarelikebuttons #Bestoutcomes

A BEST BrEakfaST thank you

A huge thank you to one of our fabulous trustees, Caro, for organising and hosting a BEST BrEakfaST yesterday and raising over $2000 for Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust.

And she couldn’t have done it without her wonderful guests and the generosity of auction donations from Stretton Clothing, Black and White Beauty Therapy, Vayle Hammond, Christine Braun, Yvonne Scown and Karen May – thank you to everyone!

#FUNdraise #Brightasabutton #Mothersarelikebuttons #Bestoutcomes

Breast News

Read our latest newsletter and find out what’s been happening for the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust so far this year.

You can also sign up below to receive our quarterly newsletters straight to your mailbox!

Sip & Shop for a cause

FUNdraise for us by purchasing tickets to a fabulous evening hosted by True.

Visit True. to purchase your tickets or purchase a donation to help their efforts if you cannot make the event. 

International Clinical Trials Day

Monday 20th May was International clinical trials day and observes the first clinical trial in 1747 by surgeon James Lind on the HMS Salisbury Royal Navy ship.         

The Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust acknowledges and pays tribute to all the wāhine who have taken part in all of our Waikato clinical trials over the last 22 years. Clinical trial research helps find new treatments for people, not only in the Waikato and New Zealand, but all around the world! Without the courage and bravery of those who participate, clinical research would not be possible! THANK YOU to all our amazing research and clinical trial participants!

All the major advances in controlling breast cancer have been the result of clinical trials research. Clinical Trials Day is also a time to recognize the people who conduct clinical trials and to say “thanks” for what they do every day to improve public health. This day of celebration also provides our community with a unique opportunity to raise awareness of clinical trials – and of clinical research as a career option among the greater public.

Breast cancer is not just one disease; there are many different types and stages, all of which need different treatments. We must “never let it rest” and continue to drive our research efforts to achieve the BEST for Waikato and New Zealand women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. Clinical trials mean better outcomes and evidence based best treatments and procedures.

#Goodbetterbest #Neverletitrest

Welcome to Jenny

Jen takes up the role in marketing and fundraising to raise awareness in the Waikato of the work we do, the funds needed and how research is undertaken by Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust as well as sharing the story of our yellow button.

Welcome Jen!

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