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Swallowing Issues

This is an extract from a 2015 newsletter of a meeting at Domain Lodge. Swallowing issues do not go out of date.

Speaking today was head and neck surgeon Dr Bren Dorman from the ORL department. His talk was on swallowing issues and consisted of
videos as well as slides. The videos were of scoping procedures within the hospital clinic or the ward, showing swallowing tests and impediments to swallowing as well as some of the treatments offered.

Patients in the…

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Gillies Hospital: WHNCD Events

Here is another WHNCD event in Auckland next week.

Gillies Hospital, a Southern Cross hospital in Epsom, is having two WHNCD events.

On the day itself, 27 July, they are having a staff red shirt fundraising day.

Prior to that, on 24 July from 6 pm til 8 pm, they are holding a Head and Neck Forum for General Practitioners.

The following topics will be covered

  • Thyroid Ultrasound by Dr John Chaplin
  • Using a Robot for Head and…
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The Auckland campaign for World Head and Neck Cancer Day will include free screening of the head and neck on 26 and 27 July. So far we are not aware of screening in other New Zealand centres. 

Auckland Head and Neck Specialists, who operate at Mercy Ascot Hospital, are providing two screening sessions on the day before WHNCD. This will be on 26 July. The free screenings will be at their Takapuna and NorthCare branches on …

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Fundraising Campaign

We are using World Head and Neck Cancer Day as a chance to carry out our annual fundraising for stationery, the website and patient care packs.

The care packs are designed to make new patients aware that they don't have to face head and neck cancer alone.

Contents…

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A new normal: Shane's story

Only 10 days until WHNCD and here is another patient story to raise awareness of the disease and how patients experience it. Shane was diagnosed with Baso-Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a variety of head and neck cancer that started on the skin. His disease has been persistent but he has risen above it each time as a result of complicated surgery  (nerve grafts and gold weights) and his own strength and courage. He had a difficult path to diagnosis which goes to show that…

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Cosette's Story

Cosette Calder, who lives in Christchurch, had a lot to live for when she was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Hard as her treatment was, she knew her cancer was curable and she had a five-year-old son to look after. Cosette’s early symptoms are interesting too. They show us how throat cancer can manifest itself.  

Here is her story.…

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Vaccinate your children against HPV

Virtually everyone reading this article, at some time in their lives, will acquire one of the many types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Four out of five (80%) of us will acquire one of the 40 subtypes associated with genital infection. These genital HPV subtypes cause visible genital warts and genital cancers.  Fortunately, for most of us, our immune systems clear the genital HPV subtypes, without any obvious signs of infection. Some people need treatment for visible…

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Claims for `natural’ treatments are usually best taken with a healthy dose of scepticism – though some, like the aloe vera mentioned below, are almost self evident. Suggesting education reduces tobacco use and thus cancer levels seems more like a variation on a regular theme, while possible advances in…

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Network News - 10 July 2017

Who said this about the New Zealand health system? "We have a world-class health system but third class treatment, and we have the capacity to make a big difference. Not enough people with the greatest need are getting access to our services because we're stuck in a 19th-century view, but it's the 21st century."

Not me, and I do agree.…

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Path to Diagnosis: Part II

This is the second part of the stories of late diagnosis collected and collated by Olwen Williams. These two illustrate how pretty obvious signs of cancer can be missed until it is too late for an easy solution. 

As we build up to WHNCD, we will publish more stories about aspects of the cancer to raise awareness. 

Anne…

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July meeting: preparing for WHNCD

A small turnout on Thursday 6 July. The America's Cup parade was on and the weather was atrocious. Nevertheless we had a fruitful meeting, getting to know a new member of our network, Sharmayne and welcoming Marlene Evans back into our midst. 

We started with a video about WHNCD, a day of observance that started in 2014. It featured Jatin P. Shah who is the head of the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncological Societies as well as Michael Douglas and…

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How to raise awareness of our support network on World Head and Neck Cancer Day? How to make new head and neck cancer patients aware that we exist and they are not alone? Diana and Olwen came up with a plan: provide care packs for patients undergoing treatment. 

We had recently rebranded with our tui…

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Being a Caregiver

When one member of the family gets cancer, the whole family gets it, people say. In our head and neck cancer community we have many members who have become strong advocates for their partners. Here is one such story of love and commitment. 

Taking on the role of caregiver came to me on two occasions only a few short years apart.  Suddenly and devastatingly each time, with no warning and no instruction manual.  It landed on my lap by default…

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Wednesday Weekly 5 July 2017

It often surprises just how many people get a head and neck cancer. I recently discovered a singer/song writer favourite, John Prine, had a cancer back in the 90s and Val Kilmer recently confirmed that he actually did have a cancer this year (after first denying it.) Both survived and are apparently going strong - something the stories below suggest are becoming more of the norm. However, as always, a little skepticism never hurts.…

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Network News - 3 July 2017

Since our last Network News one of our members, Udaya Kovvuru, passed away on 21st June 2017. We met Udaya, and his wife Shoba last year after his surgery. We have followed his journey through our Facebook group. Udaya, was fortunate to have wonderful support from Shoba. She is a wonderfully generous and wise person, sharing their story, and…

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What are the  psychological effects of head and neck cancer?

We were privileged to hear a talk by Sandy Cavell, then of CMDHB on 4 June, 2015. 

Sandy Cavell, health psychologist at the ORL module at the Manukau Superclinic, was our speaker today. Sandy has conducted a lot of research into the psychological effects of this cancer, including into “unmet needs” and “benefit findings”. Sandy barely got through her slideshow…

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Path to Diagnosis, Part 1

With WHNCD less than a month away, I am replacing Friendly Friday with stories on aspects of head and neck cancer care. Olwen Williams collected and collated these stories.

Head and  neck cancers have a variety of symptoms and are often not recognised for some time.  Here’s how a number of people were diagnosed. These symptoms include a cough, a sore on the tongue, a swelling on the nose, swallowing problems, blocked sinuses. Other members, not…

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In lieu of the regular Weekly Wednesday whose writer is otherwise occupied at the moment, I want to introduce you to our World Head and Neck Cancer Day build up. From now on we will have a series of articles relating to many different aspects of the disease: the path to diagnosis, being a caregiver, HPV, laryngectomy issues and many more. 

What is WHNCD? 

World Head and Neck Cancer Day on July 27 each year was established in 1987 as a way to bring…

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