Defeating Women's Cancers at the Perkins - Walk for Womens Cancer

THE CAUSE

At the Perkins we believe that when you put a group of world class scientists, researchers and experts together in a purpose-built facility, that amazing things will happen. These amazing innovations can't take place without your support and the support of people like you. Every dollar raised by you for the Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer is used to ensure Perkins researchers can continue finding better treatments, preventions and diagnostics for women’s cancers.

By walking in the Hawaiian Walk for Women’s Cancer you are helping to stop women dying from cancer.

BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of all ages. One in 8 Australian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This is a staggering statistic and with your incredible support the Perkins hopes to change this figure and save more lives.

Thanks to medical research, the 5 year survival rate for breast cancer has improved from 72% in 1987 to 90% in 2016, but there's still so much work to be done.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Become familiar with your body so that you notice any changes, which include:

A lump, lumpiness or thickening in the breast or under the arm
New pain that doesn’t go away or pain only in one breast
Dimpling, puckering or redness
Changes to the nipple – such as inversion, discharge, bleeding, reddening or patchy areas, and itchy or ulcerated skin
Changes to the shape and size of the breast
Changes to the skin of the breast
Changes in skin temperature of the breast

TREATMENT

Treatments for breast cancer are developed by a multidisciplinary team to meet the needs of each individual patient. Treatments can include:

A lumpectomy surgery to remove the tumour and a small area of tissue around it
A mastectomy surgery to remove the entire breast and sometimes surrounding lymph nodes
Radiation therapy using x-rays to destroy cancer cells
Chemotherapy to help destroy cancer cells in the breast, as well as breast cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body
Biological therapy (or immunotherapy) which helps the body’s immune system fight cancer
Hormonal therapies to treat women who have hormone receptors on their breast cancer cells. These lower the level of female hormones in the body or change the way the body responds to female hormones

TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER

There are different types of breast cancer. One of the hardest to treat and most aggressive is ‘triple negative’ breast cancer.

Most breast cancers are diagnosed based on the presence, or lack of, three ‘receptors’. These receptors are estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). There are drugs that target these receptors, switching off the hormones feeding the cancer. Triple negative breast cancer does not respond to removing any of these hormone receptors.

Triple negative breast cancer does not respond to most widely used therapies, but patients usually still undergo surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The Perkins focuses on these poor prognosis cancers, to make lifesaving discoveries that will find better treatments for women with cancer!

OVARIAN CANCER

Ovarian cancer occurs when some of the cells in one or both ovaries start to grow abnormally. It is the 8th most common cancer in Australian women.

Two of every three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer won’t survive. Currently there are no early detections tests for ovarian cancer, and this is why medical research is so important.

The 5 year survival rate has increase from 34% in 1988 to 44% in 2013. This is still not good enough, and funds are desperately needed to help research provide better screening, prevention, diagnosis and treatment options.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Ovarian cancer symptoms are persistent and worsen with time. Be aware of the following:

Abdominal pressure, fullness, swelling and bloating
Persistent abdominal discomfort or pain
Change in bowel habits such as constipation
Indigestion, gas, nausea, upset stomach
Lower back pain
Frequent or urgent urination
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, menstrual disorders, pain during intercourse
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Ongoing unusual fatigue or lack of energy

TREATMENT

Treatment options for ovarian cancer depend on the type, stage, and general health and fitness. Ovarian cancer treatment can include:

Surgery – which can include removal of one or both ovaries, fallopian tubes, or the uterus
Chemotherapy – killing cells that are rapidly dividing, which can include both cancer cells and normal cells
Radiation – using high-energy X-rays or other types to stop cancer cells growing