BCAC Committee members Fay Sowerby, Libby Burgess and Emma Crowley attended the Breast Cancer inSIGhts conference on 1-3 September 2022 in Auckland. This biennial conference is run by the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ and the Breast Special Interest Group of NZ specialists.
Dr Emma Nolan is a breast cancer scientist who recently moved back to New Zealand after training and working in overseas labs for the last 11 years. During her PhD, Emma helped to discover a potential preventative medication, Denosumab, that could potentially prevent or delay breast cancer arising in high-risk women who inherit a faulty BRCA1 gene.
BCAC member group Breast Cancer Cure has announced a new partnership with Cancer Research Trust to fund New Zealand research into breast cancer. Both organisations are philanthropic funders that have raised and granted millions of dollars to local cancer research over the last 25 years. The new funding will enable at least two new breast cancer research projects to be added to the work already being supported by Breast Cancer Cure.
Latest results from clinical trials with trastuzumab deruxtecan (brand name: Enhertu) have shown significant benefits for two groups of patients with advanced breast cancer: those with high levels of HER2 (HER2 positive), and also those with low levels of HER2 (HER2-low, a subset of HER2 negative breast cancers).
This drug has two components: trastuzumab allows it to home in on HER2 receptors on breast cancer cells, and then the deruxtecan component gets to work killing the cells.
Pharmac recently announced $190 million of new funding for medicines. However, only one breast cancer drug made it onto their investment list. Kadcyla (aka trastuzumab emtansine) is currently available in New Zealand only for those with advanced breast cancer.
For many women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, the treatment process can be overwhelming and stressful. In certain situations, doctors may offer treatment with chemotherapy, targeted therapy or hormonal therapy before surgery to the breast and lymph nodes (neoadjuvant).
The fear of breast cancer coming back is one of the most common issues faced by people diagnosed with breast cancer.
Recently a panel of experts from Breast Cancer Trials (Australia and NZ) discussed the latest in research and clinical trials, living with the fear of recurrence and how to manage that fear, as well as what help is available.
Please vote for BCAC so that we can send out more support packs. BCAC is excited to announce that we are one of 11 worthy organisations selected for the NZ Post Delivering for Good programme. This means that we will receive a year’s worth of free courier services with NZ Post, so that we can continue to send a free Step by Step pack out to every woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer. But the journey doesn’t end there.
BCAC is deeply disappointed by a report on cancer medicines released by the Cancer Control Agency, Te Aho o Te Kahu. We’re stunned to see that Te Aho o Te Kahu has identified only one breast cancer drug as needed but not funded in New Zealand. This is completely out of step with Australia and other countries and disregards international guidelines on breast cancer treatment. There are eighteen breast cancer medicines funded in Australia and not in New Zealand.