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Thursday Investigator: Look Good Feel Better

Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is an organisation dedicated to helping women manage the effects on their appearance of cancer treatment. The workshops are open to all women in treatment. A LGFB workshop is a non medical and brand neutral. The products used are donated by the New Zealand Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association of New Zealand (Inc). The Association both founded and continues to develop the charity. Over 1.7 million women have participated in the programme worldwide. There are…
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Wednesday Weekly - 14 November 2016

Depression and anxiety are common and perfectly reasonable reactions for cancer survivors, but the psychological effects of the disease are possibly less considered than the physical ones. Recently the possibly beneficial effects of treating depression with the long illegal drug psilocybin (found naturally in `magic mushrooms’) has been gathering some interest. Realistically though the chances of the treatment ever becoming legal is slim, especially considering the political reluctance to…
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This initiative promotes free screening clinics for oral, head and neck cancer awareness week. We are looking at doing something similar in New Zealand. If you know of any clinician who would like to be involved, let us know. headandnecknetwork@gmail.com If you specialist is not offering this for Head and Neck Cancer Day (27 July, 2017) then you might like to invite them to get involved. …

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New Zealanders over 13 need to be dying to qualify for free visits to the GP. Only adults who have a terminal condition receive free or low cost care in many parts of the country.

Primary healthcare is unaffordable for a lot of people, even for elderly patients with ongoing cancer needs. Unless their local clinic qualifies for the Very Low Cost Access Scheme, they will pay through the nose to see a GP, anywhere between $42 to $60.

What is the Very Low Cost Access Scheme? It is…

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Adam Love shares his feeding tube story

The year is 2011. I’d had the life changing journey of treatment for tongue cancer.

As part of the treatment a tracheostomy or "tracky" was installed in my throat so I could breathe. This was removed after nine months.…

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Eloquent plea for better dental care

The following text is from a letter sent in 2007 to the Minister of Health, asking for funded dental care for head and neck cancer survivors. No progress was made but the letter sums up the issues we face in a way I have not seen before. It explains WHY dental decay is such an adverse consequence of radiotherapy and reminds us that three monthly check-ups are desirable. There's also a simple, clear description of the process that can lead to osteoradionecrosis. The letter was written by…

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More on robotic surgery in New Zealand

Kiwis with oral cancers can now have their tumours removed robotically through a new surgical technique. The first trans-oral robotic surgery (TORS) performed in New Zealand was at Southern Cross Hospital North Harbour by surgeons Dr Andrew Cho and Dr Francis Hall last month and gives some oropharyngeal cancer patients a treatment option that’s significantly less invasive than traditional options.
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Note: this is a preliminary investigation based on a talk with my local GP clinic and lots of googling. There may be inaccuracies which you are free to point out. We will find out more when we get the chance to talk to Procare and other PHOs. I think it is an important issue. 

Important info

  • Primary health is at the community GP…
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Americans have just celebrated Thanksgiving Day which resulted in the  following story appearing on my Head and Neck Cancer Google Alerts feed.

Two of our members were diagnosed with this type of head and neck cancer, although less severe and with better prospects. The story shows the patient's gratitude for the small things but also the long drawn out process we often go through to reach a diagnosis. Sometimes it's weeks, months, years of pain or irritating symptoms before the…

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Network News 23 November 2016

Network News

It was a busy week for posts and activity. A big thank you to Dr David Grayson for inviting Maureen and I to Mayo Clinic's Social Media presentation to staff at Waitemata DHB. It was a interesting and thought provoking presentation. We really need to have the conversation around in New Zealand around health care and social media. If any of you would like to add your thoughts please Tweet with hashtag #hcsmnz. It will be good to hear from…

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Wednesday Weekly - 23 November 2016

Amid all the  treatment articles in the world’s media there are a few  about or by survivors. The piece below by  American Steve Hendrix is one of the best.

This week’s thought doesn’t have any medical application, but consider …: Scottish Tartans are really just gang colors…

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What people have told me about coping

Some Strategies

I’ve had head and neck cancer on and off for nearly ten years now. Over the years I’ve been given a lot of advice. All the strategies below have helped me and some of them might help you before, during and after treatment. (We also have a section on coping under the tab, “Resources”.)

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