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Breast Cancer Patient Advocacy Seminars

Breast Cancer Patient Advocacy Seminars: Be Informed

The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation is issuing a challenge to all women: become an advocate for yourself and your own health.

As part of a programme to increase awareness about breast cancer and its effects, the Foundation is holding a series of free seminars on patient advocacy with leading US medical oncology specialist, Dr John Link. The seminars will be open to all members of the public in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch and run from late March.

"Knowledge is power. Women need to know it's important for them to challenge their doctor for information on their treatment and management," says the Foundation's National Community Liaison & Education Coordinator, Amanda Gray. "Their diagnosis will be one of the most daunting periods in their life. We want women to feel empowered to ask questions and discuss the treatment of their disease."

Dr Link is the author of two books aimed at breast cancer patients - 'The breast cancer survival manual' and 'Take charge of your breast cancer', and is also the medical director of breast oncology at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in California. He is one of the pre-eminent breast cancer specialists in the United States, with more than 16 years' experience in the field.

The seminars will highlight the significance and value of teaching women about advocacy and will cover the following topics:

* The history of breast cancer advocacy * Breast cancer research (including financial support, government, pharmaceutical, philanthropic, influence on politicians) * Advocacy opportunities for doctors, government and the pharmaceutical industry

At the conclusion of each seminar there will be opportunities for the audience to question Dr Link further on his views and advice.

Each year more than 2,000 New Zealand women are diagnosed with breast cancer and one in 10 will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

To register for the free seminar in your region, or for further information, please call The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation, TelstraClear Tollfree 0800 902 732 or register online at The first 100 people to register in each region will receive a copy Dr Link's new book 'Take charge of your breast cancer'.

Dr Link's visit to New Zealand is being funded by Roche Pharmaceuticals and Novartis.

Dr John Link, M.D.

Dr John Link decided to become a physician in his late teens. During his time at university, to which he received an athletic scholarship to attend, his track coach died of cancer. This influenced him greatly to pursue a career specialising in oncology.

He became very interested in the causes, treatment and prevention of breast cancer, and in 1987 limited his practice to specialise in breast diseases. That year, in conjunction with other specialists, Dr Link opened a comprehensive breast centre at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in California, where for the past 16 years he has been the medical director of breast oncology.

Dr Link wrote his first book ‘The breast cancer survival manual’ to put into writing what he does on a daily basis, helping women with newly diagnosed breast cancer understand their situation and develop a plan to optimise cure. He has just written and published his second book, ‘Take charge of your breast cancer’, which discusses breast cancer advocacy.

He is dedicated to the advancement of breast cancer research and he believes that each woman’s situation is unique as she is, and treatment planning should be based on her unique situation.

“I can’t emphasise enough that breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease. We need to fingerprint each woman’s cancer in order to make the best treatment choices based on her unique situation,” says Dr Link.

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