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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Breast Cancer Trials’ mission to improve lives

Fifty-five people are diagnosed with breast cancer every day and, sadly, almost 10 of those will lose their lives.  

An oncology group based in Newcastle is doing all it can to see that number drop.

Breast Cancer Trials’ mission is for people affected by breast cancer to live better and longer and to never die from breast cancer.

“[We are] one of the largest oncology groups in Australia for breast cancer,” chief executive Soozy Smith said.

“We have been around for just over 40 years and we work with 107 participating institutions across New Zealand and Australia.

“We open our trials in a number of different locations in both cities and regional areas – 16,000 women have participated in our trials and, currently, we have eight clinical trials open to patient entry.”

Over the past 40 years, Breast Cancer Trials has delivered 85 clinical trials to help beat the most commonly diagnosed cancer.

“We look at all trials as being successful in that the trial either confirms our hypothesis or it does not,” Ms Smith said.

“If a trial does not give the result that one might expect it is still telling us information that we did not know.

“It may be better to look at it from the other angle; that is of the treatments currently used in treating breast cancer today all of them will have been tested for safety and efficiency by conducting a clinical trial.”

The trials are funded through a variety of methods, with the charity receiving funds from Cancer Australia, research grants, and fundraising.

“Our fundraising department raises in excess of $5 million each year through our many individual supporters, corporate sponsors and through community events such as Tee Off, Three Course Challenge, and Mother’s Day,” Ms Smith said.

The charity will host a virtual Q&A session on World Cancer Day (Thursday 4 February) in a bid to stay in touch with the community.

The Breast Cancer 2021: Research, Risks and Recovery event is free to access via registering online at Eventbrite.  

“We use the Q&A as a way to keep people informed about what we are currently doing in the breast cancer space,” Ms Smith said.

“We try to mix it up with what people have liked from our blogs and we have selected areas we thought would be of interest, including updates on the trials we are running and information on breast cancer risks, prevention and breast cancer and exercise.

“I think a lot of people are always asking about new treatments and how they can improve their outcomes.”

Ms Smith added that, even though more people were being diagnosed with this form of cancer, the “number of people surviving is higher than ever”.

Go to the Breast Cancer Trials website for more information about its work.

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