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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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’.
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”.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.