Wednesday 10th August 2022

Archives for Wednesday 27th July 2022

World Head & Neck Cancer Day 27.7.2022. 48/2022.

This blog post, like all posts related to Head and Neck Cancer, may be found here on my blog’s header page.

There is a link here to Head and Neck Cancer Australia which is also accessed via here Health Direct Australia.

I am dedicating this post to Hayley Eldridge who died on the weekend. The link to her story on HANCA is here.

And this is my comment on the loving, sad post made by her husband: “Hayley was an amazing woman and I am so saddened today too…I remember the photos from the day when Head and Neck Cancer Australia met with Dr Allen & Hayley was able to be such a great advocate for #HNC …sending love to Joel, her parents and her family & friends. We only ever had IG convos but she exuded love and compassion in all of our connections. Vale Hayley”

Head and Neck Cancer is NOT one with great outcomes for all. I am so sorry to say.



World Head & Neck Cancer Day 27.7.2022. 48/2022.

How World Head & Neck Cancer Day Began: 2015.

Thank you Michael Douglas, actor, and head and neck cancer patient for sharing your story, and for the announcement on 27.7.2015 that this day would become: World Head and Neck Cancer Day around the world. The ribbon colours for head and neck cancer are maroon/burgundy and cream

One of the ways my case was very similar to that of thousands of other cancer patients is that I was initially misdiagnosed. Not once, not twice, but three times. To you all, that is probably a familiar story. It all started out pretty innocently with a soreness of my gum behind my last molar. And being pretty diligent about my health, I went to see my general practitioner, who thought I had an infection and so was prescribing antibiotics, which, being a good patient, I took. And then I saw an ear, nose, and throat specialist, and then I saw a periodontist. But after a number of months when this supposed infection hadn’t gone away despite multiple rounds of treatment, I was pretty certain that this wasn’t simply just a sore gum.

Advancing Knowledge About Head and Neck Cancer

And through your tireless efforts that spans nations, continents, cultures, and languages, and the courage you display in confronting something seemingly so implacable as cancer, you embody the essential values of cooperation, education, and the sharing of knowledge. The proposal made by the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies to proclaim today, July 27, as the world head and neck cancer day is a right move to share and advance knowledge to the world by organizing educational activities each year on this day. I wholeheartedly support this proclamation. This is the road on which I believe progress lies and this, of course, is why you all are here today.



What I’ve done for World Head and Neck Cancer Day over the years.

I had not heard of this type of cancer until I was diagnosed in May 2017, and then had my first BIG surgery on July 6, 2017.


I was 3 weeks post-op when my husband drove me  back to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for 3 week check check, and to hear the results of my biopsies of bone and tissue. We had quite a rushed consultation with my A/Prof Ebrahimi and HNC Nurse where I was given this news. I admit, it was good to know but also I was still very much in recovery mode. One piece of advice from that day was to try to eat red meat as mince and my recipes contained a lot of that from then. Eating with a very swollen newly constructed upper mouth and only 8 teeth below (but a strong tongue) was hard, but doable.


Having my story published by my local Federal MP Emma McBride on her facebook page, after we invited her to have morning tea at our house, I was ‘found’ by the local Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Group’s Nurse, Lisa, who invited me to the Gosford Hospital Central Coast Cancer Centre for their inaugural Soup for the Soul event. I got to meet some head and neck cancer patients for the first time, and would later join their group for meetings.


By the time the next WHNCD came around, I had become an Ambassador for then Beyond Five, and supported the organisation via social media, blogging and continued in-person attendance at the local CC HNC group. We did not know it of course, but that year would be the last we could host a Soup for the Soul Event. The day was also recounted in a local paper from a story by the Chair and in this way more news was shared about Head and Neck Cancer.


The year none of us can forget, as once Covid 19 hit, some much changed. Very much. No face to face meetings, no events nor any kinds of catch ups which could have brought illness from Covid to any of us. At that stage, there was no vaccine. Head and Neck Cancer Australia used the week of WHNCD to share videos made earlier, including the one I took part in about nutrition, and they also ran some on-line events. Soup for the Soul went virtual or in at home groups. I appeared like this to be part of an audience in a webinar, to give support on WHNCD 2020 but my face shows I was still in recovery mode from surgery (not cancer) the week before.


No to any kind of in-person events for fundraising. I had, much earlier in the year before much of NSW went into 100+ days of lockdown been able to share the HNC story with the local Senator, Deborah O’Neill.  We had high hopes, over 3 occasions that Head and Neck Cancer Australia (name change from Beyond Five), would be taking a delegation to Canberra for a Parliamentary Breakfast. Sadly this did not happen but via many emails, zoom meetings and an occasional one to one meeting some in roads were made into acquiring a grant to help HANCA’s costs in sharing awareness.

I was personally disappointed that a much planned and hoped for “live event” at my local cafe had to be cancelled. The owners were too. I made a virtual soup for the soul event which got some kind donations but again, it just isn’t the same. There had only been a few in-person local group meetings too.



I celebrate/commemorate/appreciate my full recovery from head and neck cancer surgeries and treatments and this year it’s been 5 years. A full-on FIVE years. I chose to not organise any event: virtual or in real life, this year. I am getting older, and with some other non-cancer related surgery coming up soon, I am self-caring more.

I do, of course, share the news in the lead up to World Head and Neck Cancer Day. My Dad made his annual donation to Head and Neck Cancer Australia, and I added a small one of $25 to cover the cost of one package to be sent to a patient/family/health professional.

I do enjoy my soup more these days…maybe the cold biting winter we have had encourages this, and I am making more as my Dad enjoys it. Having found my old fave Rosella Tomato Soup back on the shelves, I will raise a cup on Wednesday!


And on:







to all who know this disease personally, who know of others and who have studied  to be able to help us patients with our various types of HNC, I am thinking of you and wishing you well.


I am linking this post for Weekend Coffee Share and for readers to know the inaugural event happened in North America on 27.7.2015.


Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share over the weekend. (Publishing before then, on Wednesday 27 July 2022.)

Thank you Natalie.