It was strange having no hospital stalls this year for WHNCD. Some of us joined the international HNC community on Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness of the warning signs and advocate for the HPV vaccination. I hope we were not just preaching to the converted but that some of our pleas for awareness spilled over into the wider community. Having a mask at home to quote our members helped.

I wrote a little verse highlighting just four of the warning signs.

Sometimes a long list can obscure the messaging, but I must emphasize that there are numerous signs of HNC, some more subtle and unexpected than others. I am surprised that neck lumps and tongue ulcers are still being misdiagnosed or diagnosed late though. Need to get that message out.

We conducted a poll on Facebook with about 30 people responding. Here is a very rough graph of the results of “first symptom”. It would be useful to conduct a proper survey of the first symptom of our many members.

Australian broadcaster and HNC survivor, Julie McCrossin, worked with two public and one private hospital in Sydney to publish a series of interviews with HNC doctors, nurses, and allied health staff. This was instead of the conference they were going to hold in June and tied in nicely with WHNCD. They are being released in stages and here is a link to their website:  https://headneckcancerforum.com/

Some of our Facebook members are in the videos and there was a small Kiwi contribution.

Beyond Five ran an interesting video for the Soup for the Soul fundraising event. Survivors and chefs demonstrated soup recipes. The link will be ready to post soon.

HNCSA had a specific achievement on WHNCD too, a bank account from Westpac. It is hard to get everything past the AML compliance committee but we’re there at last and should you wish to donate, you’ll see our bank account number in a section under “About Us”.

Maureen Jansen, Secretary, Auckland Lead