First-ever forum for advanced breast cancer patients

The first-ever New Zealand forum dedicated to expanding knowledge about advanced breast cancer takes place in Auckland this week.

The Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) Forum aims to provide “knowledge, support and empowerment” to those who have been diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, also known as secondary or metastatic breast cancer.

It has been organised by the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) and well-known support organisation, Sweet Louise and will feature presentations from medical experts, therapists, advisers on quality of life issues, and patient advocates.

Chief executive of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Evangelia Henderson says she hopes the forum will expand people’s knowledge about advanced breast cancer.

“Our aim is that everyone who comes to the ABC Forum will leave knowing something they didn’t when they arrived.  For some, it’ll be a new treatment or a clinical trial to discuss with their doctors. For others, it’ll be around improving their day-to-day life with breast cancer, or finding inspiration to explore new opportunities,” she says.

Chief executive of Sweet Louise, Fiona Hatton, says the forum is a tribute to those who live with the disease.  

“In putting this together we acknowledge those men and women living with advanced breast cancer, a disease that is often misunderstood and overlooked. We hope that this forum will give accurate and reliable information as well as peer and psychosocial support”.

BCAC’s chairperson, Libby Burgess, will speak at the forum about the power of advocacy for those with secondary breast cancer.

“There are so many new medicines available now that can dramatically improve the length and quality of life for those with advanced breast cancer. We need advocates to speak up and push for these new treatments to be publicly-funded. I hope my presentation will inspire some to take action,” she says.  

The medical presentations at the forum will focus on the latest research and clinical trials, new treatments in New Zealand and overseas, and navigating the health system.

The quality of life sessions will focus on exercise, diet and family support and will be followed by an inspirational talk from multiple cancer survivor, Phil Kerslake,  entitled, “Living better with metastatic breast cancer: with resilience!"

The ABC Forum will be held at Kings School, Remuera Rd, Auckland, on Saturday November 14, 9:00am to 4:30pm. Registration is essential – visit, and visit the News and Events page. The day is free to attend for patients and their supporters. Medical professionals can attend for a fee of $75.

8 November 2015

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