Media Room

New podcast series explores what it means to have advanced cancer

25th July 2019 - Patient support

Cancer Council NSW is launching a new series of its popular podcasts. Called The Thing About Advanced Cancer, this series will focus on the challenges surrounding a diagnosis of advanced cancer, and doesn’t shy away from the hard questions. Hosted by cancer survivor and broadcaster, Julie McCrossin, ten episodes feature interviews with both cancer experts and people with a lived experience of advanced cancer, and explore the practical as well as the existential issues that people may face.

Elizabeth Humphries, Cancer Information Unit Manager at Cancer Council NSW is proud to offer this new way of supporting people around Australia.

“It can be hard for people with advanced cancer and their families to find trustworthy information that is also easy to understand,” said Elizabeth Humphries. “The first podcast of its kind in Australia, The Thing About Advanced Cancer explores key issues surrounding an advanced cancer diagnosis, including what advanced cancer means, the latest treatment options, living well with advanced cancer, managing symptoms such as pain and breathlessness, and the rewards and challenges of caring for someone with advanced cancer.

“The series aims to tackle some of the less-talked-about issues around advanced cancer and provide practical, evidence-based information in an informal way, to help people understand and cope with their situation. We know people affected by cancer really value information, but their need for information is not always met as well as they would like.”

John O’Neill was diagnosed with advanced brain cancer in May 2018 and had trouble finding information that openly addressed the existential crisis he was facing.

“Searching for information in the wake of an advanced cancer diagnosis is a daunting task at the best of times,” said John. “The facts and figures are out there, but hardly anything discusses the more personal and social issues that linger around the disease.

“Things like ‘how do I continue to find hope and purpose in my life’ and ‘how do I cope with the uncertainty’ don’t really get talked about much. And while it’s impossible to give a definitive answer to these challenging life questions, this podcast series looks them in the eye and equips patients and carers alike with a platform to have informed and productive conversations with loved ones about advanced cancer and – for some people – end of life.”

Julie McCrossin brings her own experience as a survivor of cancer in her tonsils, tongue and throat to her role as host, understanding the topics that will resonate most with people with advanced cancer.

“Recent advances in cancer treatments, particularly the introduction of immunotherapy and targeted therapy drugs, mean that a growing number of people are living for a long time with advanced cancer,” said Julie McCrossin. “Obviously this is a wonderful thing but living with advanced cancer is not without its challenges, and knowing what to expect can help people cope with some of the issues they may face.”

“Coming from a radio background I know the power of the spoken word and the podcast is a perfect vehicle for this kind of information. This format overcomes many common barriers to information often experienced by patients and their carers. Cancer-related fatigue, brain fog and just feeling unwell can make reading books or online information more difficult, but listening to a podcast takes very little effort and can be done at a time and place that suits the listener.”

Two episodes of the new series are available now, with the remaining episodes to be released over the coming weeks. More information is available on the Cancer Council NSW website.

– ENDS –

 Notes to Editors:

The Thing About Advanced Cancer podcast series will be available on the Cancer Council NSW website at, as well as via Apple Podcasts and other podcasting apps. Cancer Council’s earlier series, known as The Thing About Cancer, is also available.

The ten episodes of The Thing About Advanced Cancer will be released from late July through till September. They will focus on key topics and common challenges that people affected by advanced cancer experience:

  • What does advanced cancer mean?
  • Treatment options for advanced cancer
  • Living well with advanced cancer
  • Caring for someone with advanced cancer
  • Living with dying
  • Caring for someone in their last months
  • The role of hope and purpose in advanced cancer
  • Managing pain when cancer is advanced
  • Preventing delirium when cancer is advanced
  • Managing breathlessness when cancer is advanced

About Cancer Council:

Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer free future every day.

About Cancer Council’s ‘The Thing About Cancer’ podcast

In July 2017, Cancer Council NSW’s Cancer Information Unit produced and launched the first series of The Thing About Cancer, an information podcast series for people affected by cancer. Additional episodes were released in July 2018. The podcast covers a range of topics relevant to people at the time of cancer diagnosis and treatment, including coping with a cancer diagnosis, how cancer affects carers, making treatment decisions, managing fear, and dealing with symptoms and side effects like brain fog and fatigue. Between July 2017 and July 2019, The Thing About Cancer podcasts have had more than 30,000 plays, and the series was a finalist in the Australian Podcast Awards in both 2018 and 2019. Cancer Council’s new podcast series, to be released from 22 July 2019, is known as The Thing About Advanced Cancer.

Patient support