October 24, 2016

Patient Forum at 6th Australian Lung Cancer Conference provides a renewed optimism

Lung Foundation Australia hosted the 6th Australian Lung Cancer Conference in Melbourne from 18 – 20 August which brought together about 400 delegates nationally and internationally. As part of the conference, a Better Living with Lung Cancer Consumer Forum was held with 40 patients and carers travelling from across Australia to attend. The feeling in the room prior to the forum can be described as ‘optimism’ which isn’t a word we commonly associate with lung cancer.

The opening presentation was given by Dr Marie Ftanou, a clinical psychologist from the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre who discussed the meaning of ‘scanxiety’ and the psychosocial challenges patients may face when living with lung cancer. Some of the strategies she shared on managing ‘scanxiety’ included: arrange scans near your appointment; live in the present; stay in the moment; practice visualisation, meditation and mindfulness; have compassion for yourself which can help reduce stress and can assist in changing your reaction to what you are about to face.

Claire Mulvihill, Lung Foundation Australia’s Lung Cancer Support Nurse spoke about the physical symptoms of lung cancer including pain, breathlessness, cough and fatigue as well as managing the side effects. Dr Sue-Anne McLachlan, clinician and researcher at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne presented on clinical trials and how they can be an integral part of a patient’s treatment regime. A patient panel question and answer session concluded the forum which provided an opportunity for everyone to interact and share their stories about how they are currently living with lung cancer.

Patients felt the forum provided hope and unity and that there was a renewed optimism, a sense of belonging and the strength to move forward equipped with knowledge and new strategies to manage their disease. If you would like support or information about lung cancer, please contact our Lung Cancer Support Nurse freecall on 1800 654 301.