ChrisChats | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse
 In Lifehouse News

Come and meet our experts and learn about the latest in cancer treatment, innovation and technology. You’ll have the chance to ask questions and chat to specialists from a wide range of disciplines.

Our ChrisChats run from Monday 5 to Friday 9 November. Here’s the program of talks.

Monday 5 November

11am  The Changing Face of Cancer


Thanks to the incredible promise of immunotherapy, people with cancer have new treatment options and new hope. In many cases, it is no longer a ‘death sentence’ but a chronic illness. So, we are changing the way we approach the disease.

In The Changing Face of Cancer, Professor Michael Boyer will talk about immunotherapy, what it is and how it is providing hope to cancer patients. Dr Judith Lacey, Head of Integrative Oncology and Supportive Care, will discuss how we help people to live well with cancer and Psych-oncologist Dr Toni Lindsay will explore shifting attitudes to a cancer diagnosis and how survival can come with unique challenges.

1pm Medical Physics: The Science That Saves Lives


VectorLAB is a joint venture collaboration of physicists between Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and the University of Sydney. It’s a place where clinicians and academics meet to improve the lives of cancer patients through applying physical science.

The team is working on exciting research including a strategy to harness the biological effects of radiation to get more control of cancer while giving lower doses to healthy tissue of cancer patients.

Other projects involve growing bone cells in 3D printed scaffolds for implanting into patients who have lost bone in surgery and a new way of preventing infection on common medical devices and appliances that could save thousands of lives worldwide.

In this talk Associate Professor Natalka Suchowerska, Head of Physics Research and Education at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Professor David McKenzie from the School of Physics at Sydney University and student Georgio Katsifis will take the audience through these and other developments from VectorLAB.

2pm Compassion in Healthcare


When Chris O’Brien was negotiating numerous appointments across Sydney as a brain cancer patient he said to his wife Gail, “If this is hard for us, how is it for everyone else?”

Compassion has always been fundamental in healthcare but Chris’s revelation influenced the nascent vision of Lifehouse and helped us evolve to a model where the patient sits at the heart of everything we do. This allows us to approach conventions and rules with curiosity and question what might benefit the patient most.

Director of nursing Catherine Lambert and Associate Professor Chris Milross, director of radiation oncology and medical services, will discuss how we are guided by compassion in our mission to improve the lives of people with cancer, and their friends and families.

3pm Innovation and Technology in Cancer Surgery


Surgery has always been at the forefront of technological innovation in healthcare. Today, with the rapid advancement of modern technology, the opportunities for surgical innovation are greater than ever.

Breast surgeon Associate Professor Sanjay Warrier, urological surgeon Associate Professor Ruban Thanigasalam and head and neck surgeon Professor Jonathan Clark will discuss the latest developments in technology and innovation in surgery including 3D printing and robotic surgery, and how we’re using them to improve surgical outcomes for patients.

Wednesday 7 November

1pm Creativity and Healthcare


Studies show that colour, art and music play an important part in mood and how we perceive the world. In a healthcare setting, they can relieve feelings of stress, anxiety, isolation and depression and improve resilience, confidence and self-esteem.

Music therapist Jack Thomas, art in health specialist and co-founder of Arterie Deborah Burdett and interior designer Angela Ferguson will explore the meaningful impact that colour, art and music make to wellbeing.

Thursday 8 November

1pm Exercise, Diet, Nutrition and Cancer


Exercise might just be the right medicine for cancer but diet and nutrition also play a huge part. Earlier this year the Clinical Society of Oncology Australia recommended that exercise is prescribed as a standard part of cancer treatment. Mind-body therapies are also being shown to improve quality of life for cancer patients.

At the same time the World Cancer Research Fund updated its report on Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. This is a review of all global studies from the last ten years and is the best evidence available today on cancer prevention research and the links between diet, nutrition, physical activity and cancer. Nutrition is especially important for people diagnosed with cancer as highlighted by a range of Australian and international evidence based guidelines.

Yoga therapist Margerie Hellman, exercise physiologist Angelique Tambakis, dietitian/nutritionist Jackie Van Zyl and Lifehouse patient Caitlin Delaney will discuss the benefits of exercise, including mind-body therapies, and nutrition for cancer patients. Moderated by oncology specialist dietitian Merran Findlay.

Friday 9 November

1pm From Clinic to Cancer Care Innovation


CancerAid is the number one cancer support app in Australia, the US and the UK and provides a digital platform to support patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Co-founder Dr Raghav Murali-Ganesh and marketing manager Emelie Gustavsson will tell the story of how CancerAid was born at Lifehouse and how the app is helping thousands of users worldwide to track their symptoms and access reliable, up-to-date information about their illness and treatment, as well as connect to others going through a similar experience for support.

We are grateful for the support of our sponsors for this important milestone. We would not be here without them. Thank you Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Varian, Konica Minolta, Meditech, Optus, Oneview and Rauland.

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