When you’re caught up in the flurry of medical activity after a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s easy to lose sight of ordinary life. Things that were important, like our relationships and our sex lives, get put on the back burner. Turning our focus back onto those things, and even knowing where to start again, can be difficult.
Christmas is coming! But don’t panic – BCAC’s partnership with The Good Registry can make gift-giving easy this year. By clicking here you can buy gift certificates for those friends and family who already have everything they need, but would get a great feeling knowing they are helping women with breast cancer. The Good Registry is a great volunteer organisation set up by some Wellington women who are passionate about doing good. They issue gift certificates which can be redeemed by donating to one of their charity partners – like BCAC! By donating to BCAC this Christmas, your friends and family can help us to keep supporting, informing and representing kiwi women with breast cancer.
BCAC is now one of the charities that runners in the Auckland Marathon can support. If you have entered the marathon, or know someone who has, why not support women with breast cancer by doing a bit of fundraising on the side! Just go to this webpage to register, fundraise or just make a donation. Thank you!
New Zealanders have had a gutsful of restricted access to medicines. That’s what My Life Matters campaign organiser Malcolm Mulholland has concluded from his pre-election whistlestop tour of the country over the last 5 weeks. In meetings from Whangārei to Invercargill, patients and their families shared their experiences of being denied cancer and other medicines that they would receive free in other countries. BCAC and our members understand this struggle all too well. New Zealand still trails behind other countries badly, with 18 breast cancer medicines that are recommended in international guidelines not publicly funded here.
Breast cancer was well represented at this morning’s launch of the My Life Matters campaign. Twenty patient advocate organisations turned up representing over 1 million NZ patients needing unfunded medicines. With the tagline ‘You are one diagnosis away from moving to Australia’, the campaign is a call to action that aims to raise awareness, promote policy changes and engage politicians to ensure there is equitable access to essential medicines for all kiwis. The campaign will hold a series of events throughout the country over the next few weeks. Check out the schedule here and get along to add your voice to the call to address New Zealand’s medicines crisis.
BCAC Committee Member, Metavivor and medical writer Marion Barnett recently reviewed all the latest information on the treatment of advanced breast cancer in New Zealand and overseas. Marion has written an excellent article describing our current situation for each sub-type, including which treatments are recommended internationally and which are available here. Unfortunately, New Zealand is still a long way from providing the standards of care recommended in international guidelines and currently available in many other countries. Access to modern medicines to treat advanced breast cancer remains alarmingly restricted for kiwi women, and this is reflected in our poor survival statistics.
Researchers have engineered gold nanoparticles to target blood vessels in tumours and make them leaky so that chemotherapy drugs can get in and do their work more easily. Tumours have their own blood supply and it is already known that these blood vessels behave differently from those in normal tissue.
If you do, and you don’t really need any more stuff, why not set up a Gift Registry with The Good Registry? That means your family and friends can celebrate your big day without fuss and you can all support BCAC at the same time. It’s easy to do – here’s how:
Step 1: Head to thegoodregistry.com. Click the button for Registries.
New research, examining genes in tissue samples from women with DCIS, has identified a set of genes which could be used as markers to predict if the DCIS will progress to invasive cancer or not.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is currently classed as ‘pre-invasive cancer’ that has not yet spread beyond the ducts of the breast. It is often picked up on a mammogram, where tell-tale patterns of microcalcifications, specific to DCIS, can be seen. Because there is no way of predicting when it will progress and become invasive breast cancer, the standard treatment is surgery to remove the affected areas (wide local excision or mastectomy) and sometimes also radiotherapy to ‘mop up’ any remaining problematic cells.
Women with obesity when diagnosed with early breast cancer have a higher risk of recurrence or a second cancer compared with women whose weight is in the normal range, but losing weight after a diagnosis can be difficult.