Neuroendocrine tumours (NETs).
It’s not a disease many people widely know about, which is why staff at Dubbo Base Hospital’s kiosk supported NET Cancer Day on Friday, November 10 to help get people in the community talking about NET Cancer and to support a local resident whose had major surgery for it.
Dubbo’s Rachel James was diagnosed with NETs after having a standard test for a prior condition.
The Unicorn Foundation - Australia’s only not-for-profit medical charity focused on neuroendocrine tumours - reports on its website that NETs is the umbrella term for a group of unusual, often slow-growing cancers.
The tumours develop from secretory cells found throughout the body and which are particularly concentrated in the gastrointestinal system, lung, pancreas, ovary and testes.
These cells are referred to as the diffuse endocrine system to separate them from the discrete endocrine organs such as pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands.
Ms James’ surgery for NETs was in July this year and she has previously said the road to recovery has been tough.
Knowing NET Cancer Day was coming up, Ms James put a call out on Facebook to see if anyone knew coffee shop owners who would support the event.
Lee Robinson and Lindy Pearce at the Dubbo Base Hospital kiosk put their hands up and offered to help.
Ms James and the team at the kiosk know each other well, as Ms James works in health would get her regular coffee there.
Instead of the usual takeaway coffee cups, the kiosk sold NET cancer cups, had a donation tin and poster to try and raise awareness.
“Our regulars have really noticed the NET Cancer coffee cups as they’re coffee is not in the usual red colour cups so they’ve been asking about it,” Ms Pearce said.
“People have also been donating..
“It’s just lovely to be involved.
“We try to do what we can.”
Lee and Lindy are no strangers to helping the community. They regularly support other cancers through donations and other local fundraisers.
Ms James said it was incredibly humbling to know there are people helping get the word out in the community about a rare form of cancer.
“It’s really touched my heart how selfless they can be to support this wonderful day,” she said.
“You know sometimes, there are just good people around. And this family are so much more than just ‘good’. They are fantastic people.
“I have watched not only what they have done for me but for their own fundraising efforts for another type of cancer their family has unfortunately been touched by.
“To take a day out of their own efforts and put into something that has touched my life, well, it just blows me away. They are kind and generous people and I am so fortunate to know them.”
Ms James said she hopes the community they take away the thought of knowing there are so many more unknown cancers out there and that we have a long way to go in narrowing down how to uncover them in a timely way.
“Even if just a few people have a lightbulb moment where they go and start having a conversation about zebra type illnesses, everything and anything is a good place to start,” she said.
Ms James is also hopeful a NET Cancer awareness day can be a yearly occurrence.
“I already have ideas on how to help with decorations for next year after seeing other cafe's around the country (on NET Cancer Day). I see unicorn up in lights and flyers of information spilling out into the community - particularly heading back to GPs and specialists in town and maybe even into our outreach centres. The skies the limit!