Raising awareness of a rare type of cancer is close to Dubbo’s Rachel James’ heart and on November 10, she hopes the entire community will be more informed.
November 10, is Neuroendocrine Cancer Tumour (NET) Day and it is about raising awareness for the rare type of cancer which Ms James has had major surgery for.
NETs is the umbrella term for a group of unusual cancers which develop from cells in the diffuse endocrine system.
NETs can affect people of any age, and can be slow-growing or very aggressive.
They are found most commonly in the lung or gastrointestinal system, but they can also originate in other parts of the body such as the pancreas, ovary, and testes, among other sites.
On November 10 the kiosk at the Dubbo Base Hospital is sponsoring an event for NET Cancer day.
The kiosk will be giving people their coffee in the cups labelled NET Cancer Day and information will be handed out so people can become more aware of it.
Ms James has a condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1, which she was diagnosed with when she was 12 years old.
Her NET diagnosis came after having a standard test of her MEN Type 1 condition.
“My blood work for secreting tumours was negative so there was no need for concern. But as I have learnt to find out, NETs do not always show up in normal blood tests, which is why scans need to be performed regularly,” she said.
In May this year, Ms James went for a routine scan only to find suspicious tumours looking like they may be NETs.
“The first time you hear tumour and pancreas together you assume the worst,” she said.
Ms James had surgery in July this year and says the road to recovery has been tough.
“I will be monitored closely now for the rest of my life for this, not just my MEN Type 1 related things. Each year I will have an EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound), CT Scan and PET Scan,” she said.
Ms James said through the kiosk’s NET Cancer day, she hopes more people become aware of just how rare the cancer is and how important early detection was.
“The kiosk is close by my office and prior to surgery I was in there most days purchasing coffee,” she said.
Ms James said everyone is invited to come in, buy a coffee from the kiosk and take away some info on the day.
“I put out feelers on Facebook to see if anyone knew coffee shop owners who would give us a hand. Lee and Lindy put their hands up and offered to help. They are great people and a wonderful family,” she said.
“It is not a closed event. It is to help awareness in the community about a rare type of cancer and to help understand what it is all about.
Ms James said NET Cancer is one of the rarest form of cancers you can have and that it was important to know people can survive this if caught early.
“Early detection in most cancers help survival rate but this one in particular means you may have a better quality of life by detection and monitoring,” she said.
“NET cancer is not even heard of by the local doctors, so not only would we like to raise awareness to each individual person, but also the medical profession.”