Cancer support site to go online soon
Head and neck cancer patients all over New Zealand will soon be able to get support and information from a dedicated website.
Head and Neck Cancer Survivors’ Support Network secretary, Maureen Jansen says she expects the site, under development for the last three months, to go online on October 27.
Even successfully treated patients of this cancer are left with ongoing effects caused by radiation treatment or surgery. Peer support can be hard to find.
When the website is up and running, members will get support from each other in a general forum and in more focused groups according to where they live, their type of cancer and their stage of treatment.
The support network is an extension of an Auckland City Hospital support group that ran for nearly 20 years before Maureen and the other members of the committee decided to create a nationwide network to which patients, survivors and carers from any corner of New Zealand could belong.
Members will also be campaigning to get better dental care and access to new drugs and treatment. New immunotherapy drugs are under development while overseas the drugs Keytruda and Opdivo are proving effective for people with advanced head and neck cancer as well as for melanoma.
The network already has a thriving Facebook support community with members from Invercargill to Kerikeri, a large email newsletter database and a blog.
Since becoming an incorporated society in June this year it has been fundraising for, and developing the website.
Maureen has kept notes of all the expert talks given at the monthly Auckland City Hospital support group meetings and has built up a database about issues affecting `head and neckers’ including the after effects of radiotherapy, dental issues, swallowing problems and coping strategies.
Facebook closed group: www.facebook.com/groups/1116515895074395/
Website online 27 October: www.headandneck.network