Peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves in hands, feet and lower legs) is a side effect of some cancer treatments, particularly chemotherapy treatment. The pain and loss of function resulting from symptoms can be debilitating and distressing and is a common reason why patients stop their treatment early. Consultant Medical Oncologist Shirley Wong from the Western Hospital has a particular interest in this condition and in this session she talks about why it happens, risk factors and what can be done to help.
Dr Shirley Wong
Dr Leonie Constable
The important role a pathologist plays in the diagnosis of breast or gynaecological cancer is often not well understood. Dr Leonie Constable is Head of Histopathology at Melbourne Pathology. In this session, she explains what happens from the time of the initial biopsy to the test results, the level of information you can expect, the criteria for staging a tumour and how a pathologist works with the rest of the medical team.
You may have asked yourself “should I exercise after cancer surgery?” or, “what type of exercise should I do?” If so, then this podcast may be for you. Judy Sammut is our Feel Good Gentle Exercise program leader who has also conducted the YWCA ENCORE program for 17 years and is a qualified fitness instructor. In this session she talks about the importance of regular exercise and the benefits of various exercise modalities appropriate for you.
A level of distress or anxiety after a cancer diagnosis is not unexpected, but if not managed may lead to an anxiety disorder. In this presentation, Jane Fletcher, Health Psychologist and Director of the Melbourne Psycho-Oncology Service at Cabrini Health, discusses a range of anxiety disorders and the impact they can have on the individual and family. She also talks about some simple strategies to keep anxiety under control.
Dr Carrie Lethborg
What happens after the active treatment for cancer has ended? In this session Dr Carrie Lethborg, Clinical Leader, Cancer Social Work, and Co-ordinator of Psychosocial Cancer Care at St Vincent’s Hospital, talks about the many issues common to women who have completed treatment. She also discusses strategies to assist recovery, goal setting and learning to live with uncertainty.
Continence issues (bladder and /or bowel control) commonly affect women in mid-life, including those who are perimenopausal or have had gynaecological surgery. Ingrid Mitton, Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist, discusses the practical management of continence in this session.
Please note that there were problems with the recording of this session. We apologise for the low sound quality, but hope it will still be of interest.
Libby Oldfield, Director of Fitwise Physiotherapy, will help us understand why it’s important to maintain good health, bone density and fitness as we age. Research shows gentle weight bearing exercises can improve wellbeing and reduce falls, risk of fractures and osteoporosis, and help us lead an active and healthy life.
One of the challenges for many women living with advanced cancer is to maintain hope in the face of an uncertain future. The uncertainty of one’s health; the ups and downs of treatment and side effects; the ability to plan ahead or not; the relentless round of tests and scans; relationships; finances and whatever else life throws your way. Tara McKinty is an experienced counsellor who has worked for many years with people dealing with life challenging illness and loss. In this session Tara discusses practical strategies to help us live well, nurture ourselves and regain our balance.
A cancer diagnosis often leads women to consider changing the food they eat, avoiding some foods, or taking supplements. Cancer treatment can sometimes result in weight gain or weight loss. There is a lot of dietary information available but much of it is misleading, confusing or contradictory. It can be hard to figure out what a balanced diet actually is. In this podcast Jo White, an experienced Clinical Dietician working in oncology at Cabrini Hospital, addresses some of these issues with a strong focus on helping people make ‘real life’ choices about their food and nutrition.
Judy Purbrick, Senior Physiotherapist at Mercy Health Lymphoedema Clinic, talks about lymphoedema and its association with gynaecological and breast cancer. This podcast will be of relevence to women who believe they may be at risk of developing lymphoedema, as well as to those who would just like to know more.
Many people experience changes to intimate and sexual aspects of their lives after a cancer diagnosis and treatment. In a fun, frank and sensitive style, Sandra Wilson, Cancer Nurse Specialist from the Cancer Council Victoria, discusses practical strategies to assist us to communicate about sexuality, and to build sexual confidence and enhance intimate relationships after cancer.
This session focuses on the psychological aspects of managing unexpected long term side effects which arise as a consequence of cancer treatment. Issues such as lymphoedema, peripheral neuropathy, bone and joint problems, fatigue, and menopausal symptoms, can have a significant impact on adjusting to life after treatment. It was facilitated by Jane Fletcher, Psychologist and Director of the Melbourne Psycho-Oncology Service at Cabrini Health.
Dr Hamish Farrow
Dr Hamish Farrow is a plastic surgeon who works in the field of breast reconstruction. In this session, Hamish covers a number of areas including what women need to consider when deciding on breast reconstruction, the types of reconstruction surgery available, current issues about breast implants and new developments in the field.
Dr Richard De Boer
For women living with advanced breast or gynaecological cancer
Dr Richard De Boer, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Melbourne and Western Hospitals, has significant involvement in clinical trials, both at the Australian and international levels. Richard has a major clinical interest in bone health and believes that there is an important relationship between breast cancer and bones. In this session he talks about new treatments and highlights current thinking and preventative strategies.
People with cancer face a range of significant physical and emotional stressors and the large majority will experience sleep problems at some point during their cancer experience. In this session, Justine Diggens, Clinical Psychologist from Peter Mac, talks about what contributes to sleep problems, what happens when we are sleep deprived, cancer specific factors that contribute to sleep loss and some strategies to get that good night’s sleep!
It’s important for family and friends to understand how we would like to be cared for in the event of being too sick to speak for ourselves. In this session Catherine Kelly from the Austin Health’s Respecting Patient Choices Program explains Advance Care Planning, a series of steps we can take to express our wishes and preferences for our medical care, including the role of Medical Power Of Attorney. Pat, an individual who has developed an Advance Care Plan, also speaks about her experience and decision-making process.
Please note Austin Health’s Respecting Patient Choices Advance Care Planning Program is funded under the National Palliative Care Program and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
Vlado Krstevski is an experienced Chinese medicine practitioner who specialises in working with people living with cancer. In this talk, he explains the principles of Chinese medicine and talks about the complementary role that both acupuncture and Chinese herbs can play in managing the side-effects of cancer and maintaining general wellbeing.
Prof David Bowtell
In recognition of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in February, BreaCan and Ovarian Cancer Australia hosted an informative afternoon with Professor David Bowtell. Professor Bowtell is head of the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study, a collaborative national project involving over 2,000 women with ovarian cancer. Professor Bowtell presented on the latest research and developments in ovarian cancer.
Ann-Maree Bortoli and Sofie Mikosa
“Natural” does not automatically make something safe. Naturopathy is a widely used complementary approach to dealing with fatigue, depression, anxiety and stress. Ann-Maree Bortoli and Sofie Mikosa, naturopaths and herbalists from Melbourne Holistic Health, talk about these issues, as well as the symptoms of menopause, and discuss the new evidence on the role and safety of phyto-oestrogens in a very down-to-earth session.
Dr Esther Briganti
In this presentation, Dr Esther Briganti, an endocrinologist in private practice and associated with St Vincent’s Private Hospital, provides a non-oncological perspective of the impact of breast cancer therapies on bone health in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women with breast cancer. She reviews the outcomes of clinical studies which have shown ways to prevent or reduce bone loss, as well as discuss other factors that may affect the risk of osteoporosis.
Dr Jacquie Chirgwin
Dr Jacquie Chirgwin is Board Chair of the Australia New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG) as well as a medical oncologist at Box Hill and Maroondah Hospitals. The ANZBCTG conduct innovative research programs which rigorously and scientifically test new breast cancer treatments through the conduct of clinical trials. In this recording Jacquie talks about what is involved in a clinical trial, and the ethics, administration and protocols you need to consider when deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial.
Prof Paul Maruff
Some women who receive adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer complain that their ability to think clearly has been reduced since treatment began. Research into this topic is growing and there is now stronger evidence that subtle changes in thinking do occur in some women. However the reason for this is still not clear. In this session Professor Paul Maruff (Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne) discusses some of the more recent findings of studies of the relationships between cancer, chemotherapy and brain function.
Dr Roslyn Drummond
Roslyn Drummond is a radiation oncologist from Peter Mac who has specialised in the treatment of women with cancer for over 20 years. In this session she talks about the use of high-energy x-rays as an agent to kill cancer cells. Roslyn gives an overview of the history of radiotherapy, discuss the use and benefits of radiotherapy, and the current trends for its application in the treatment of cancer.
A cancer diagnosis is difficult enough, but factor in a family history of breast or ovarian cancer and the issues and complexities increase significantly. In this session, Mary-Anne Young, Genetic Counsellor from the Familial Cancer Centre at Peter Mac, explains the implications of a family history of cancer and talks about the role of the Centre, its innovative projects, and the support available to people faced with a family history of cancer.
Kate Wakelin from Cancer Council Victoria has a background in palliative care nursing and psycho-oncology, and many years of experience supporting people living with cancer. This talk was given at a forum for women living with advanced cancer, organised by BreaCan and Cancer Council Victoria. In it, Kate discusses maintaining hope in the face of uncertainty, and practical strategies for living well.
Jane O’Brien is an experienced breast surgeon who talks about what a breast cancer diagnosis means, the steps involved in surgery, and how she works with women in making decisions about their treatment and care. As part of the session Jane also discusses the common issues and difficulties that are faced by women at this early stage of treatment.