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Let’s Talk Cancer Hui

Northland DHB is hosting a Hui in Rawene on Tuesday 10 September with the aim to build bridges and engage with the community around cancer care and what a patient’s journey currently looks like in Northland.

The ‘Let’s Talk Cancer Hui’ at Rawene Town Hall has been collectively put together by Northland DHB, Cancer Society Northern Region, North Haven Hospice, Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and Hauora Hokianga. The event is open to members of the public and health professionals who will learn about what cancer is and the modern treatment options available, while addressing any misconceptions and concerns they may have.

Northland DHB clinical Nurse educator Courtney Morgan says there will be a range of knowledge brought to the Hui to inform the community about the signs of cancer and how to get diagnosed early.

“We are aiming to reduce inequity for our people in Northland. That is why we are going to the places that need us the most. There will be a big focus on how to live well with lots of brochures and people there to talk to, with different tips and advice on how to do this. We will also have different cancer and medical support groups representatives for people to talk to and ask questions and make connections in the community of the Hokianga.”

Northland DHB consultant haematologist Dr Sarah Poplar says they want to reassure people that they are here to listen to their wishes and put forward treatment options for discussion and advice so that they can make the right decision based on the latest evidence and the priorities of the individual.

“Our training and the treatments we offer are evidence-based, but we recognise patients sometimes choose alternatives, and we respect that.”

Sarah says her goal is to ensure Northlanders can access treatments locally that might be available to a New Zealander in the metro regions, where feasible and safe. “We work closely with colleagues in Auckland to deliver equitable access to treatments not available in the region and support patients through the practical difficulties of our unique geography where possible.”

Health Psychologist Bryony Parkes will be speaking about the emotional impacts of going through cancer and the signs of depression and anxiety, which she says will be helpful for patients and families to know what to look for, so they know when to ask for help.

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a big shock, and it is normal to go through stages of increased anxiety, stress and low mood. I hope that discussing this helps people to know their reaction is normal and that they are not alone.”

Doctor George Laking will also be speaking about his three month sabbatical on the East Cape where he looked at developing a model of cancer care that combines a Māori world view on health. Kaumātua Hone Taimona will follow with a talk about rongoā/traditional methods of healing.

Members of the Hokianga and other Far North communities are encouraged to attend. There is no need to register prior to the event, just turn up on the day. The Hui runs from 9am until 3pm.

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