Lots of wonderful things are happening every day in our Centres across the Sydney West Cancer Network.
Distinguished visitors from Chulabhorn Hospital Bangkok, Thailand
In August, the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre was honoured to host a team of Radiation Therapists and Medical Physicists from the well respected Chulabhorn hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. After a warm reception from the Director of the Sydney West Radiation Oncology Network, Dr. Verity Ahern, a full day program of presentations and practical demonstrations was given by local Radiation Oncologists, Radiation Therapists and Medical Physicists from both the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre and Blacktown Cancer and Haematology Centre.
Chulabhorn hospital have advanced equipment and a very high standard of radiotherapy treatment, so the focus for the day was several of the more specialised areas we routinely treat in the RON network:
- Stereotactic Radiotherapy – encompassing treatment, planning, QA motion management and imaging for body and brain sites. These are highly targeted treatments for small tumours, further advanced by the addition of the recently installed Varian TrueBeam STx linear accelerator;
- Deep Inspiration Breath Hold technique(DIBH) with visual biofeedback for breast radiotherapy, facilitated by several members of our very skilled Breast Radiotherapy Team;
- Advanced brachytherapy techniques including paediatric peri-operative treatments, custom surface and gynaecological moulds, MRI and ultrasound guided interstitial treatments and deformable imaging.
The day was well received by the visitors and a pleasure for all local staff involved. It was excellent to have the opportunity to share and advance knowledge together with the wonderful team from Chulabhorn.
HIGH FASHION AT CPMCC Westmead
Very exciting times as we take delivery of the first of our new purpose-designed gowns for our breast cancer patients funded by 2016 Dry July fundraising efforts.
The project was conceived and driven by our wonderful radiation therapists who wanted to offer their patients a more suitable treatment garment which provided both modesty and dignity when undergoing radiation therapy treatment. The final gown design and fabric was a collaborative decision made with input from both patients and staff.
All these types of projects are above and beyond, but our staff know that it is these little things that can make such a HUGE difference to our patients. Congratulations to all involved and BIG THANK YOU to the wonderful Dry July organisation who make all our dreams come true!
1, 2, 3 – HOLD YOUR BREATH! Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH)
On Friday 20th of January the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre hosted a Deep Inspiration Breath Hold (DIBH) Workshop for a Multidisciplinary team of Radiation Therapists and Medical Radiation Physicists from Dunedin, New Zealand.
This DIBH Workshop was the latest in a number which have been facilitated by the Breast Radiotherapy Team at the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre for departments from all over Australia. It provides a free workshop for those seeking to implement the radiotherapy treatment technique in their department. DIBH is a treatment technique used globally to treat breast cancer with radiotherapy by asking the patient to take a voluntary inspiration breath and hold it for the duration of treatment. This manoeuvre often moves the patient’s heart away from the chest wall and therefore radiation treatment fields, reducing dose to the heart. The workshop demonstrates all facets of the DIBH process from simulation of the patient through to treatment. We try and keep the workshop interactive allowing participants to ask questions that benefit their department and hurdles they have faced in implementation. As one of the first centres in Australia to offer the treatment, we had many challenges and hurdles to face in implementing this technique. The workshop outlines these challenges and offers technical and practical solutions we have developed along the journey to assist in implementing the treatment safely and effectively. It was enjoyable to spend the day sharing information with an international cancer centre and building networks so that more breast cancer patients can benefit from the DIBH technique.
* * CONGRATULATION! International Recognition Awarded:
CPMCC’s Associate Professor Sandra Turner was recently awarded European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTR) Honorary Membership in Turin, Italy.
Honorary membership is awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to the achievement of the goals of the Society, particularly in the field of interdisciplinary or international co-operation. The last Australian to be awarded this honour was Professor Jim Denham in 2007, with Rod Withers under a USA affiliation being the only other Australian so honoured in 1987.
This is a wonderful recognition of everything A/Prof Turner has done for the College with the Targeting Cancer campaign (see link below) and her activities in the field of education.
** MINDFULNESS – what is it? *
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” – James Baraz”
Suparna Karpe, Clinical Psychologist, Department of Gynaecological Oncology, Westmead Hospital
You may have heard of Mindfulness – it’s had a lot of publicity recently – but what is it, exactly? Mindfulness is an ancient practice found in many eastern philosophies but especially in Buddhism. There are many definitions but the one I prefer is from Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. He says mindfulness is paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.
We often go through daily life on automatic pilot. We do what we need to do, but without really noticing what’s going on. Even a simple routine like brushing your teeth is usually done without attention. How often have we really “felt” the toothpaste in our mouth? The way it foams or not, its texture, the taste, the way the brush feels on our teeth with, the coldness of the water, the sound of the tap running. Instead of attending to what we hear and taste and feel, we are already thinking of what we are going to wear, getting breakfast for the kids or the meeting we have at work first thing in the morning.
A question I often get asked is “why use mindfulness”?
Mindfulness based practices are ways to reconnect with our lives by engaging in and learning to participate fully in the present moment. Mindfulness practice might include meditation, but it doesn’t have to. The only way to really understand mindfulness is to practice it. Like driving a car, you can read about how to drive a car, or hear someone tell you what it’s like, but you can’t really understand the experience until you actually drive a car.
Mindfulness is as simple as becoming aware of your ‘here and now’ experience, both your internal thoughts and sensations and what’s happening in the world around you, but without judging those thoughts, sensations or experiences. It can enrich your experience of the everyday – nothing is trivial if you pay attention.
By anchoring us in the present moment, without judging, it makes a space where we can deal with distressing and painful memories – the memories are there but we are here, in this moment, not in that past moment. It also allows you to look ahead and plan for the future, even when you might have fearful thoughts about things that haven’t yet happened, because it provides a secure position in the present moment to consider those future possible moments. Of course, we are in the present moment – we just lose track of that fact quite often.
There’s quite a bit of research supporting the benefits of mindfulness practice for physical and mental health, and for building resilience. Examples of current research include studies looking at how the brain responds to mindfulness practice, how relationships benefit, and how people manage chronic health problems (like pain) with mindfulness.
There have been a number of research studies on mindfulness based stress reduction programs and mindfulness based meditation for cancer patients – click here to read more
Some examples of mindfulness practice:
You can start with basic exercises in noticing what is around you. These help in creating an awareness of the here and now and use our senses of sound, sight, taste, touch and smell.
Sight: Look around you and name five different objects as you look at them
Sight & Touch: Look at, name, and touch five different objects, noticing their texture, temperature, mass and weight as you do so
Sight, Touch and Smell/Taste: In the kitchen or a garden, look at, name, taste and smell five different things, noticing their colour, texture, taste and aroma
Hearing: Close your eyes and listen for five different sounds
Another exercise in mindfulness is simply to focus on your breathing. Simply notice as you breathe in and out. The purpose of the exercise is not to relax or control your breathing or to manage stress – it’s simply to create an awareness of the act of breathing.
For a detailed guide to the 5 senses exercise click here.
The NSW Cancer Council has a free CD with several mindfulness tracks – ask at the NSW Cancer Council Information Centre at the main entrance to the CPM Cancer Centre, or download from the NSWCC website:
At the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Care Center we run free groups on mindfulness based stress management for our patients and carers. Numbers are limited, and you need to book into a group so please call Suparna Karpe, Clinical Psychologist on 9845 9539 or Anita Rangganadhan, Clinical Psychologist on 9845 9538 to find out more.
Here are the dates for our 2017 groups.
|Watch this space|
The Media Units of the Western Sydney Local Health District and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District are committed to highlighting the positive work being done by our dedicated staff in providing the best care possible for our community, and achieving our vision of better health service.
Medical and Research Publications: Our research findings are regularly published in international and national medical and research journals.