Almost everyone has a story about cancer, whether it’s in their family, a friend or just someone they know. They receive a diagnosis of cancer, they have their treatment, they finish their treatment, they look well and they have survived. You want to help, but you’re not sure how? Professor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Council Australia provides some information and strategies and we hear from three cancer survivors about what they needed from their family, friends, work colleagues and employers after their cancer treatment.
Professor Sanchia Aranda
Honorary Professor Sanchia Aranda was appointed as CEO of Cancer Council Australia in August 2015. She currently holds academic appointments with the School of Health Sciences, University of Melbourne and the Faculty of Nursing, University of Sydney and is a research fellow at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. She has more than 30 years’ experience in cancer control and has held prior roles in healthcare, government and tertiary education. For the last 20 years Sanchia has worked in international cancer control, with 16 years on the board of the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, including 4 as President (2006-2010). She is the President-elect for the Union for International Cancer Control and has been on the board of UICC for 5 years. She also served on the Advisory Council for Cancer Australia for 8 years until 2015. Her contributions to cancer control have been recognized nationally and internationally and in 2013 she was named the 4th Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Distinguished Fellow for her contributions to Cancer Nursing.
Yvonne Hughes is the author of One Piece of Advice: Words to guide you through early breast cancer. One Piece of Advice was written after Yvonne began treatment for breast cancer. She started writing the book to capture the generosity of those who had tips to pass on, and to help others going through treatment. Five years later, Yvonne is still passionate about helping others through the journey. Yvonne has written articles about breast cancer and survivorship for several Australian publications, and continues to be involved with Cancer Council NSW.
Sam was diagnosed with Stage IIIb Hodgkin’s Lymphoma five years ago at the age of 21. When most people’s lives are just getting started his was put on hold. With a lengthy diagnosis and the subsequent treatment he received, which lasted for approximately two years. Throughout and after his treatment Sam’s life played host to range of different experiences brought about directly due to his diagnosis. The most prominent being the loss of a close friend to a rare form of cancer whilst going through his own treatment. His journey was featured on Channel Nine’s RPA and he has been an ambassador for Cancer Council NSW since finishing chemotherapy in February 2012. Sam has featured on numerous advertisements for the Cancer Council and was heavily involved with the Rekindle Project, which focuses on strengthening sexual health after a cancer diagnosis. Sam is currently finishing a degree in writing, at the university of Technology Sydney and works for the Australian Labor Party.
Brett was diagnosed with brain cancer on the 6th of December 1988 – the same night as his year 10 graduation, at 15 years of age. After receiving his diagnosis Brett endured 5 months of intensive chemotherapy, followed by 2 months of radiation. Because the tumours were in the pineal canal in the middle of his brain, he couldn’t have surgery. After completing his treatment Brett was expected to relapse, which he did in 1990 and had a month of radiotherapy. Since then there has been no sign of the tumours. Brett was trained as a carpenter, but sadly can no longer work in his trade due to the side effects of his treatment. He has been working as a teacher’s aide, helping out in classes for kids with special needs. Brett is now 43 and receives a disability pension which he has been trying to get off for the last 13 years. He is thankful to call himself a survivor.