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

Congratulations to Professor Ian Campbell

We are absolutly delighted to share the news that founder and chair of the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust, Ian Campbell has recently been promoted to Honorary Professor with the University of Auckland, School of Medicine.

Professor Ian Campbell, Breast and General Surgeon, has been a tireless contributor to teaching within the medical trainee programme at Waikato Hospital as well as supervision of surgical trainees completing post graduate research, with many research publications arising from his work with the Trust, associated clinical trials and the Waikato Breast Cancer Register.

Ian was recognised for his services to breast cancer treatment and research with Officer of the NZ Order of Merit in 2013 and this promotion is richly deserved.

Congratulations Professor Ian Campbell.

Chair Breast Cancer Surgeon Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust

Looking for cute christmas gifts?

Shop our ‘Cute as a Button’ or ‘Good Better Best’ range for Christmas this year and help raise funds for local breast cancer research. 

  • Set of 2 mugs – $30. Mix or match, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy
  • Set of 4 mugs – $60. Mix or match, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy
  • Drink set – $33. Match a drink bottle and mug, choose from a bunny, kitten, piggy or puppy.
  • Good Better Best pack – $60. Pack includes Good Better Best Drink Bottle (one black and one yellow), Good Better Best Tote, two Button Badges and a Button Compact Mirror

Clinical Scholar Award Winner, Dr Mel Edwards

We are extremely proud of Dr Mel Edwards, Doctoral Research Fellow & Surgical Trainee, who has won a scholarship to attend this years San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and present her PhD thesis, ‘The Impact of Breast Cancer Treatment Concordance on Survival in Relation to Comorbidity Burden’.

This international scientific symposium is for interaction and exchange among basic scientists and clinicians specialising in breast cancer. It is held each December in San Antonio, Texas and is the largest international breast cancer conference. Trustees, Drs Ian Campbell and Marion Kuper-Hommel are also attending the symposium this year.

Doctoral Research Fellow Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust

Dr Edwards is only one of five global award recipients of the ‘Clinical Scholar Award’, which recognises clinical scientists in-training who are actively pursuing clinical or clinical / translational research in breast cancer.

Congratulations Mel!

Welcome to our new trustee

Dani is a public relations and communications professional and is co-director with her husband Chris of their consultancy business, Dynamic Media.

Her background is in media, having been an award-winning journalist and editor for almost 20 years. It was working in community news that she developed a strong sense of community spirit and now enjoys giving back to charitable organisations that are close to her heart.

Having close family and friends diagnosed with breast cancer and having lost her first husband, Clinton, to brain cancer, Dani is passionate about supporting both the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust as a trustee and the Brain Tumour Support Trust in a pro bono capacity.

Dani is a member of the Institute of Directors and the Waikato Chamber of Commerce.

Her personal interests include cooking, F45, reading, and enjoying family time at Waihi Beach.

Welcome Dani to our board of trustees.

National Best in Breast Care Conference

Every other year we organise a national conference for health professionals and allied health professionals in New Zealand that are involved with the care of people with breast cancer.  This year the conference was held at the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion on Friday 8th November. This was very well attended with 180 delegates coming from around the country, from as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Dunedin.

The conference was promoted amongst GPs this year and we had 15 GPs attend. Other attendees were nurses (Breast Care, Plastic Surgery, Theatre, District, Surgical, Oncology and Practice); radiation therapists, MITs (mammographers and ultra-sonographers), staff from Breast Screen Aotearoa and breast cancer support organisations as well as research staff from the Universities of Auckland & Waikato.

With local and national breast cancer specialists, general practitioners and consumers presenting, they all provided an excellent overview on current management of early and metastatic breast cancer. Topics included oncoplastic surgery, health literacy, survivorship, genetics and the Breast Screening Aotearoa programme.

For the first time we had a panel discussion on the future role of general practice in shared care which invited questions from conference attendees. We also had our first international speaker, Professor Sandie McCarthy (Professor of Nursing, University of Queensland, Brisbane) who presented on the importance of women’s wellness after cancer. Professor McCarthy has been involved in research introducing health promotion utilising digital platforms and evidence-based information on healthy lifestyles.

Candy Atkinson (Breast Screen Midland Data Manager) was the final speaker of the day and presented on cultural considerations for working with Māori wāhine.  She left an impact on us all, with one delegate commenting that, “Candy as final speaker was great, very moving, and reminded us that we are all working together for the benefit of women”.

The generous sponsorship we received to manage conference logistics and costs enabled us to raise $12,000 for our clinical trials and research projects.

October’s Breast Cancer Awarness Month Events

Breast cancer awareness is marked in countries across the world every October, to help raise awareness of early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease. This year we were part of several events to raise awareness of the research and clinical trials we are part of, as well as to raise funds to make our research happen.


The Breeze Waikato started the month riding for awareness with ‘Bras on Bikes’. Camille and Stu were joined by former captain of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Silver Ferns team, Casey Kopua and The Block boys, Sam and Ethan, for a bike ride along Cobham Drive. Despite a downpour at the start of the ride, the team wore smiles throughout the morning dressed in some of our finest decorated bras and their main message was “women and men – check your breasts!”


On 23rd October our Best of Dinner was a stunning event held at the heritage Matangi Dairy Factory. Guests enjoyed stand out entertainment from the recent “We Will Rock You” musical, performed by members of the cast from The Clarence Street Theatre. Our very special guest speaker Rachel Māia moved and inspired the audience with her courage and bravery as she spoke of her journey after leg amputation, including regaining her love of rock climbing that led her to compete internationally and locally.  The dinner was an opportunity to share with guests the work of the WBCRT and inspire them to ‘never let it rest’ with us. 


We were very grateful to Colleen Earby and the Huntly Women’s Allsortz Group for once again organising the Huntly Pink Walk and raising funds for Waikato based breast cancer research. Shelley Moffit from Harcourts Huntly did another fantastic job organising a bake sale (raising $821) and local teenager, Elle Rendell raised $250 from a cake raffle in support of her mother Tania who has been going through breast cancer treatment.

Waikato District Council Mayor Allan Sanson and wife Trish also dressed in pink and showed their support for the cause. Allan has a number of close family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Thank you, Huntly, for your fundraising efforts!


On the 31st October over 500 people took part in Hamilton’s Pink Walk & Button Run around Hamilton Lake. We were blown away with the support for local breast cancer research, not only from participants but also local businesses who donated prizes. Braemar Hospital were our main sponsor for the eighth year, and their ongoing support is truly appreciated.

Local band The Meraki entertained the crowd along with our MC, Camille from The Breeze Waikato. Curves Gym got everyone warmed up and we loved having SBI Productions help us out again this year with sound and live streaming.

A special thank you to all of our volunteers who gave up their time to put up promotional signage, help with registrations, marshal around the lake, cook sausages and everything in between.

Over $20,000 was raised through registration fees, raffle ticket sales, merchandise sales, and donations for the sausage sizzle and face painting, by Alicia Sim Artistry. A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved and making the Hamilton Pink Walk another huge success!


As a small, local charitable trust we receive minimal government funding for research and we rely on the generosity of people donating, sponsoring and fundraising for the vital research and clinical trials that make a difference to the diagnosis and treatment of those with breast cancer. Once again thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey this year.

The better we understand it,

through research,

the BEST we can fight it!

2020 Pink Walk and Button Run

A HUGE thank you to so many individuals, volunteers, businesses and groups for being a part of the 2019 Pink Walk and Button Run! 

A very special thank you to our gold sponsor for eight years now, Braemar Hospital Your ongoing support is truly appreaciated and not only covers the cost of the running this event but also keeps everyone fed after with a great sausage sizzle!

Thank you to SBI Productions for their incredible donation of sound, lighting, screen and live feed again this year. Russell and the team worked extremely hard yesterday for us and we’re excited to see the footage from the event.

Heartfelt thanks goes to Red Events and Errol Newlands for their continued support of the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust.

There were many others who contributed to the success of the event…our volunteers that helped with registrations, giving out bibs, selling merchandise and raffle tickets, timing, marshalling, cooking sausages, setting up, packing away and everything else in between! We could not do it without each and every one of our volunteers! 

Thank you to Camille for being our fabulous MC and the whole team from The Breeze Waikato for their support, as well as the Waikato Treasure ChestsWaikato Rugby and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic for coming on down and the team from Chartwell Curves for warming up the crowd.

Thanks to Winger Hamilton and Schick Civil Construction for helping us share the event with a sign written car and the Waikato Business News for another great feature on breast cancer awareness.

It was great having Mercury support us again this year by providing their marquee and Allied Security Ltd for looking after it overnight as well as Vege-King donating fruit at the finish line. Alicia Sim Artistry also did some beautiful face painting.

The Meraki were fantastic at entertaining the crowd! Thanks to TR Group Truck & Trailer Rental NZ for providing their stage to perform on!

Thank you to Isla Trapski Photography for capturing the event and to your ongoing support and contribution to the work we do.

Thank you to all the businesses that donated prizes, in no particular order: Midas Diamond JewellersFastlane FitnessSkyCity HamiltonBody CafeDirect Group UniformsSouth City Health Pharmacy HamiltonDinsdale Westend PharmacyHot Gossip Bra ShopBunnings south HamiltonPlacemakers Hamilton and Westpac Hamilton.

And last but no least, thank you to all 500 of your that registered and took part in the walk and run, each one of you has contributed to better outcomes for those diagnosed with breast cancer. 💛

From the Waikato Breast Cancer Research Trust we are incredibly humbled by the level of support and contributions from so many. Thank you for helping us “never let it rest”.

Welcome to our new team member

Donna has joined our team as Personal Assistant to Dr Ian Campbell. Donna has a health and science background and many years’ experience as a Research Coordinator working in Interventional Cardiology initially, then as a Senior Research Coordinator for the Vascular Interventional Research Unit at Auckland Hospital.  Donna also has a background in Pharmacy and Teaching Support Work specialising in Dementia care.  

Donna values the positive impact research has on people’s lives, and values working with like-minded people who are innately motivated to achieve better health outcomes for all people. 

Breast cancer is a new area to Donna’s working knowledge and experience, however, Donna appreciates and understands the importance of mothers, daughters, sisters and best friends and is moved to support the WBCRT in any way she can. 

BEST OF Dinner 2019

A heartfelt thank you to everyone that contributed to such an incredible event at the Matangi Dairy Factory on 23rd October. We really had the BEST time and throughly enjoyed entertainment from The Clarence St. Theatre and we were moved and inspired by our guest speaker, the bold, brave and beautiful Rachel Māia.

A special thanks to Gallagher Group, our major sponsor, and the many generous businesses and individuals who donated services, time and raffle items.

Photos courtesy of Mirror Magic

Research continues to answer questions about sentinel lymph node biopsy

Whether or not breast cancer has spread to the axillary or armpit lymph nodes, remains an important indicator of outcome for women/wāhine with breast cancer, and may help predict the need for further treatment (e.g. chemotherapy or radiotherapy). Historically axillary node status has been determined by removal of most of the nodes (axillary clearance).  This operation may lead to arm swelling (lymphoedema), pain, some abnormal skin sensation or shoulder stiffness.

Waikato Hospital surgeons and researchers introduced “sentinel node biopsy” to breast cancer surgery in 2002. Sentinel node biopsy involves the removal of only a small number of lymph nodes most closely related to the breast cancer.

The Waikato is now a centre for a fourth international sentinel node biopsy trial. It is important we carefully evaluate the benefits and risks of introducing this lesser surgery to the axilla for women/wāhine with different types of breast cancer. Helen is a participant on the “Sentinel Node biopsy versus Axillary Clearance Part 2 (SNAC 2) trial, she recently shared with us her journey.

As the daughter of a pharmacist and a nurse, being an occupational therapist myself and married to a medical man, particpating in a clinical trial seemed sensible

“It has been difficult to remember many details about this story as it began 10 years ago, and my mind has proven to have the ability to forget the actual pain and discomfort.

I had had a history of cysts over the years so when a routine mammogram indicated I should have an ultrasound; I assumed more cysts. I was surprised to be told I had breast cancer and disbelief was my initial reaction as I felt remarkably fit and healthy and well! My next reaction was “Tell me the plan to get rid of it”. The label for my breast cancer was multifocal grade 2 invasive lobular carcinoma and the advised plan was to have a total mastectomy with reconstruction. ‘In for a dime, in for a dollar’ – get it all over and done with in one hit was my reasoning.

With this plan timetabled, my surgeon, Ian Campbell, asked if I would participate in a clinical trial. As the daughter of a pharmacist and a nurse, being an occupational therapist myself and married to a medical man, this seemed sensible. I reasoned that it may help with future treatments and improve life expectancy for others. It was SNAC 2 trial, Sentinel Node biopsy versus Axillary Clearance.

Needless to say, I ascertained there was no additional risk to myself, only a couple of extra appointments and another ultrasound with dye injected to trace which lymph nodes were feeding / draining the three tumours.

My surgery proceeded as expected but then came the news that one lymph node had cancer cells and with that news, another date with the surgeon was organised. Following this I was discharged with a drain in place which the district nurse encouraged me to keep until there was no more fluid to drain. I have been lucky enough to escape any issue with lymphoedema.

For some weird reason I had thought that the surgeries would suffice to beat this cancer but no … chemotherapy, followed by radiation, gave me better survival stats so again – ‘in for a dime in for a dollar’. I took all the drugs to combat the side effects of chemo, wore my wig and managed.  The radiation was a chore and I remember feeling weary towards the end. Now, 10 years later, the whole experience is a bit of a blur, but I know it irrevocably changed my life and furnished me with the resilience and understanding to dual with further life events.

I know that I would not have come to this place without the comfort and kindness of friends and family.”

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