The GI Cancer Institute held its first 2014 Engage Community Forum in Brisbane on August 19 – on the eve of the AGITG Annual Scientific Meeting.
After successful forums in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney last year, the Brisbane forum attracted over a hundred people to hear presentations by survivors, clinicians and researchers – on latest research and treatments, the benefits of clinical trials and how to access them, personal experiences, practical resources and advice for people living with GI cancer.
Leading surgeon Associate Professor Andrew Barbour provided an easy-to-understand overview of GI cancer, and oncologist Associate Professor Euan Walpole expressed the importance of quality of life research in clinical trials and treating the “whole person”.
Oncologist Dr Michelle Cronk summarised current GI Cancer Institute/AGITG clinical research trials, telling the forum these ground-breaking trials “have resulted in significant improvements in the outcomes for patients with GI cancer in Australia, and have had an international impact on the management of these cancers.”
She added that “Ongoing support of the organisation’s trial work is vital – raising funds to conduct trials and raising awareness amongst patients and the public of the Institute’s work.”
GI cancer survivors and AGITG Consumer Advisory Panel members, Mr Dan Kent and Mrs Judy Honor, shared their experiences and provided attendees with personal insight and hope. Dan Kent told the gathering: “Cancer survivors exist first and foremost due to research… [and] due to the care and support we receive on our survivorship journey.” And Judy Honor added that “without patient recruitment, new drugs and treatments cannot advance.”
After Engage presentations there are Q&A sessions, and attendees have the opportunity to meet with speakers and pick up information from local and national service providers.
Most attendees stayed for the Q&A, and participants reported they’d like more information on treatments and on the role and work of the GI Cancer Institute. They found the event highly informative, easy to understand and relevant, providing “worthwhile exposure [to information] not previously available.”
Support from Cancer Australia’s “Supporting People with Cancer” grant initiative and from the Clayton Utz Foundation has allowed for expansion of the program in 2014.
Further free public forums on GI cancer are now planned for:
- November 13 in Mt Pritchard, Western Sydney
- November 18 in Perth
- November 25 in Canberra
- Regional centres around Australia in 2015
Read more information on the Engage Community Forums — or call 1300 66 67 69 or email Diya Ingleshwar.