BCAC’s 16th AGM on Tuesday evening went very well. We can’t say the venue was packed – as it was held completely online – but our screens were very busy and the comments section was filled with positive feedback! Chairperson Libby Burgess gave a great overview – you can see her presentation here and our Annual Report here. Highlights included printing 7,000 more Step by Step support packs, the ongoing success of Metavivors’ online peer support group, and producing more Gifts to the Future, He Koha ā Mua videos of wāhine Māori living with advanced breast cancer. We took the ‘patient voice’ to many clinical, policy and advisory groups and contributed to a review of BreastScreen Aotearoa as well as NZ Consensus Guidelines for Advanced Breast Cancer and efforts to improve NZ patients’ access to clinical trials. We worked to reduce inequity and empower Māori and Pasifika women with breast cancer, joined efforts to prevent genetic discrimination and to improve NZ’s early breast cancer pathway, and continued to fight for better access to medicines.
Our guest speaker, Dr Emma Nolan gave a fascinating talk about her career in breast cancer research and her current programme which aims to build a New Zealand library of breast cancer tumour organoids (or ‘mini tumours in a dish’). These will be used to test new treatments and to better understand all the different types of breast cancer and how they work. Emma hopes her research with organoids will lead to customised therapy for individual patients, the ultimate in personalised medicine! You can read more about Emma’s work here and view her slides here.