First-of-its-kind event for brain cancer patients and carers

Wednesday 30 April, 2014

People with brain cancer, their loved ones and medical specialists will gather at a free forum on Friday that’s the first of its kind for Melbourne.

The Action on Brain Tumours forum will help fill a gap in information and support available for those diagnosed with this often forgotten cancer by combining the technical expertise of doctors and researchers with information on support services for patients and carers. It is being run as part of Brain Cancer Action Week.

Sally White was first diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour at the age of 38, and over the past seven years has faced multiple surgical procedures, radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. Ms White, whose mother and maternal uncle both died of brain cancer, is a committee member of brain cancer fundraising and support group Blackwood 8, and one of the driving forces behind the forum.

“A brain cancer diagnosis is the start of what can be a long and sometimes isolating journey,” said Ms White.

“An event like this will help those diagnosed with brain cancer and the people that care for them become better aware of all the good work being undertaken behind the scenes, including clinical trials and what progress is being made in research,” she said.

“The forum will bring everyone together and remind us that, as patients, we are not alone,” she said.

Among the forum presenters will be Ms White’s oncologist Dr Lawrence Cher who will outline issues that relate specifically to a brain cancer diagnosis. While a tumour in a patient’s left or right lung won’t make a significant difference, the exact location of a tumour in the brain can affect anything from vision to speech, spatial awareness, and even how someone responds emotionally to situations.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said his organisation was proud to support such an important event.

“This is a unique collaboration between medical and support services that will be extremely useful for patients and carers alike,” he said.

“When diagnosed with brain cancer patients can be left feeling out of control. At this event we hope to provide information on all the ways in which those affected can get the support they need as well as opportunities available to help others, like clinical trials, which can help restore some of that control.”

In Victoria, 438 people were diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 and 374 deaths recorded, according to the latest data from the Victorian Cancer Registry at Cancer Council Victoria.

The Action on Brain Tumours – a Community Information and Education Forum is on Friday 2 May, 10am-3pm at Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne. The forum is free and open to patients, carers, or anyone interested in learning more about brain cancer.

For more information and to RSVP, please visit www.cancervic.org.au/braintumourforum.

The event is supported by the Warrandyte branch of the Bendigo Bank, Blackwood 8 and Cancer Council Victoria.