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The Bottom Line Podcast
32 minutes | Oct 26, 2022
'Be a pleasant squeaky wheel…come empowered, have questions to ask and deliver them in a pleasant way', says Anthony.
For Anthony Ellison, exercise and a healthy lifestyle were front and centre in his life, so when he was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, three days shy of his 40th birthday, he was knocked for a six. Three years later, Anthony’s positive outlook and drive to challenge the norm, sees him tackling the cancer head on. Anthony and Stephanie discuss the impact of exercise, both physically and mentally, and how early on he decided to find what was within his control and not just control it, but dominate it - 'Exercise is my happy place!' Anthony also chats about the importance of having an allied health team and how sessions with his psychologist allow him to walk lighter and to provide him with direction without burdening his loved ones.
33 minutes | Sep 29, 2022
'Why wouldn’t you take 15 minutes from your day to do the test and possibly save you from a much bigger challenge,' says Wayne.
AFL great and mental health advocate, Wayne Schwass, is passionate about good physical and emotional health and urges Australians to tackle the difficult conversations. After years of struggling with depression silently, Wayne confronted the condition head-on and has gone on to launch PukaUp. In 2019, after a routine screening test, Wayne was diagnosed with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), a bowel disease that usually affects younger Australians. Wayne and Stephanie talk about the need to normalise bowel health, the importance of open dialogue and good communication with your medical team and how the bowel screening test potentially saved him from bowel cancer.
35 minutes | Aug 30, 2022
The lining of the gut is very similar all the way from the mouth to the anus, it just differs in thickness, Dr John Ding explains.
Gastroenterologist John Ding specialises in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Both conditions can cause inflammation of the colon and rectum, and it left untreated can be a pre-cursor to bowel cancer. Stephanie and John discuss diagnosing both conditions via colonoscopy and gastropathy, as well as non-invasive procedures such as an intestinal ultrasound and faecal investigations including the breakthrough test, faecal calprotectin. Dr Ding further explains the importance of a good to excellent bowel prep to ensure the bowel lining is clean, so it is visible by a gastroenterologist during colonoscopy. This decreases the risk of complications, such as bleeding and perforation, and increases detection of pre-cancerous polyps and cancer.
34 minutes | Jul 28, 2022
Jessica says 'I kick myself in hindsight that I did not find just 15 minutes in a day for myself. Every time I saw blood, I thought this is not normal.'
Jessica was juggling life as a new Mum and a promotion at work when she was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer aged just 33. Now a passionate advocate for raising young-onset bowel cancer awareness, Jessica discusses with Stephanie the importance of prioritising yourself and being a champion for your own health. Jessica explains how her diagnosis hit her for a six, despite knowing that the daily presence of blood in her stool was just not normal and the implications of surgery and fertility.
28 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
'A social worker looks at the person wholistically both the physical as well as the social aspects affecting your health,' says Victoria.
Victoria has recently joined the Bowel Cancer Australia team as a Bowel Care Oncology Social Worker. Her compassion shines through as she chats to Stephanie about the importance of looking after your wellbeing and all the aspects that impact your life while navigating your bowel cancer journey. Offering practical tips from how to communicate with your family to financial and work-related questions, Victoria explains how access to a social worker can provide a scaffold, to support you through your diagnosis, treatment and beyond.
15 minutes | May 25, 2022
"There is a lot of gaps in survivorship care for bowel cancer patients," Sally explains.
Sally cats to Stephanie about the gaps in survivorship care and the launch of The Movement, Bowel Cancer Australia’s new online community created by patients for patients to help improve wellness beyond diagnosis. The Movement is a moderated, safe and supportive environment for bowel cancer patients, featuring monthly presentations by healthcare professionals from across the care continuum, access to a resource library, as well as monthly 'coffee chats' for members to connect with one another. "Whether you are newly diagnosed, in active treatment, undergoing surveillance following treatment or for genetic syndrome prevention, or in remission, you will find helpful resources and a very supportive community," Sally explains. https://www.facebook.com/groups/the.movement.wellness.beyond.diagnosis
30 minutes | Apr 14, 2022
'Women’s bodies seem to offer so many potential detours when looking for a diagnosis. Be willing to politely question a medical professional,” says Margaret.
Bowel cancer survivor, former member parliament and moderator of Bowel Cancer Australia's young-onset bowel cancer webinar series, Margaret Fitzherbert chats to Stephanie about the importance of politely challenging medical professionals and seeking a second opinion. Diagnosed in her early 40's, Margaret underwent treatment for stage 3 bowel cancer whilst serving in public office. "Having experienced bowel cancer as a patient and viewed it through the prism of public policy, I've learned that there are many ways we can improve survival rates. What's lacking is the will. With bowel cancer now the deadliest cancer for people aged 25-44, this must change."
22 minutes | Mar 28, 2022
'My friends were finishing high school and celebrating their 18ths while I am mourning at my Mum’s funeral,' Chantel explains.
Chantel from Googlebox Australia was just 14 when her mum was first diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer and 18 when she passed away. During her important teenage years, she was looking after her Mum, trying to get through school while her friends were off enjoying life. Watching her mum slowly succumb to the disease had long term mental health ramifications for Chantel. Chantel tells Stephanie why she is passionate about sharing her story as a young carer, raising bowel cancer and mental health awareness and her passion for helping other young people going through a similar situation.
24 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
'You get a little picnic rug for your poo and take the poo to the picnic,' Cal Wilson describing her NBCSP experience
Cal Wilson is one of Australia’s most popular comedians and a perennial favourite on television shows and discovered she was far more resilient than she thought when participating in the exotic challenges on I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here! Chatting to Stephanie, Cal shares why she wanted to raise awareness for Bowel Cancer Australia as her nominated charity. “Both my Mum and my neighbour had bowel cancer and I felt helpless but wanted to do my bit to help. I’m not a surgeon, but I can talk so I wanted to use my voice to raise awareness.” With her own unique brand of comedy, Cal’s honest but hilarious take on all things poo and talks candidly about her families 'poo shyness', sending your screening test in the mail via '$#*! posting' and how important it is to have a laugh no matter what the situation.
36 minutes | Jan 29, 2022
“I can feel profound loneliness as a cancer patient trying to access treatment during COVID-19,” says Nicole.
COVID-19 has impacted all Australians but for bowel cancer patients navigating the healthcare system and accessing treatment, the pandemic has added complexities, some unforeseen, to an already stressful situation. Stage 4 bowel cancer patient and advocate, Nicole chats to Stephanie about the importance of being an active participant in your treatment and care, never taking no for an answer and the profound loneliness she sometimes feels as a patient in the middle of a pandemic. Nicole explains how being stranded in your room with a possible infectious disease and without the support you need as a cancer patient, is one of the more harrowing impacts of COVID-19.
28 minutes | Dec 22, 2021
'Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with pain – we must improve pain management and report it loud and clear,' says Dr Tim Hucker.
Pain specialist, Dr Tim Hucker explains that cancer-related pain can occur at any time and isn’t always due to the cancer itself as a number of the treatments used in cancer care can cause pain - such as pain following surgery or peripheral nerve pain after chemotherapy. Stephanie and Dr Hucker discuss the connection between pain, anxiety and depression, and recovery outcomes as well as how living with uncontrolled cancer-related pain can affect how people choose and respond to treatments. Dr Hucker also describes advances in pain management and the importance of reporting pain 'loud and clear' to your medical team so a pain management program can be tailored to your needs.
25 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
Gemma talks of the day she was told she had young-onset bowel cancer 'You instantly think of your children. I’ll never forget that one moment!'
Experiencing ongoing vomiting and stomach pain, Gemma was diagnosed during the Covid-19 pandemic with stage IV bowel cancer at the age of 35. Stephanie and Gemma talk about the emotional toll of being isolated from her family and friends throughout treatment. Gemma discusses peritoneal metastases, including hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which involves filling the abdominal cavity with chemotherapy that has been heated (also known as 'hot chemotherapy') following surgery to remove cancerous tumours. Passionate about raising awareness and helping other young people, Gemma also discusses the need to connect with a good support network and encourages people to saviour the special milestones and enjoy the things that make you happy.
42 minutes | Oct 29, 2021
'There is so much we don’t know and equally so much opportunity to improve patient outcomes,' A/Prof Jeanne Tie explains.
A/Prof Jeanne Tie is the lower gastrointestinal medical oncology and trials lead at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and senior research fellow in the Personalised Oncology Division at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. Stephanie and A/Prof Tie discuss personalising treatment for bowel cancer patients using prognostic and predictive biomarkers, including circulating tumour DNA. A/Prof Tie is passionate about the new frontier of cancer, the opportunities to improve patient outcomes and the importance of research and clinical trials.
33 minutes | Sep 29, 2021
Kate recalls “I feel like I owe her my life. I feel like baby Ava saved me.”
Five months pregnant and managing the emergency services response to the COVID -19 pandemic, Kate Fitzgerald was shocked when she was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2020. Kate discusses with Stephanie the difficult decisions she faced, not only for her health, but the health of her unborn baby, including possible termination and miscarriage as well as the five-hour surgery which involved her baby and womb being taken out of her body so the surgeon could remove the tumour. Sharing her inspirational story, Kate says had she not been pregnant, she would probably have ignored her symptoms until it was too late, crediting her daughter, baby Ava, with saving her life.
56 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
'The loss I have suffered will not decrease any more today, tomorrow or next year, I will just grow with it,' says Michelle.
In Part 2 of this two part episode (listen to Part 1), Michelle discusses grief with Stephanie following the loss of her husband, Sean, to young-onset bowel cancer, aged 36 in April 2021. Michelle talks openly and honestly about the impact of losing Sean, her anticipatory grief and how Sean gave her permission to be happy and continue living. This episode sensitively confronts an often-difficult discussion, offering practical and real advice for coping with the loss of a loved one. Learning to be gentle on herself, Michelle’s warm and compassionate chat is essential listening for anyone who is experiencing grief. + + + Grief resources referred to - Nora McInerny - TED Talk | Hot Young Widow's club Megan Devine - Refuge in grief | It's Ok not to be Ok | Rules at impact (pdf at the bottom)
34 minutes | Jul 21, 2021
'I find it very humbling. I feel like I really do make a difference,' Stoma Nurse, Amanda explains.
Over the past 16 years, Stoma Nurse Amanda Richardson has helped thousands of patients with pre and post-operative stoma support and advice, stoma care and management, and stoma reversal. Honest and engaging, Amanda's warmth and care for her patients shines through in her chat with Stephanie on temporary/permanent ileostomy and colostomy, as well as in helping patients overcome a common fear of living with a 'bag'. Amanda says it is the most rewarding job she has ever had.
23 minutes | Jun 24, 2021
Donna recalls "it was such a dark time but I just remember thinking. . . I so want to be a grandmother. I so need to be here for my boys.”
Donna Hope was juggling life as a State MP when she was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2013. On this episode she talks with Stephanie about how she navigated her cancer diagnosis in a busy high-profile position. Now a passionate advocate for raising awareness of Australia’s second deadliest cancer she discusses the importance of knowing your symptoms and family history, speaking with your GP and being a champion for your own health. Donna talks honestly about how delaying her diagnosis put her life at risk and how she now looks at each birthday as a privilege. In an honest and warm chat Donna discusses how her four boys helped her stay positive and how she tries not to sweat the small stuff.
42 minutes | May 26, 2021
Dr Newstead talks bowel surgery and the most important indicator of a successful operation
Stephanie chats with colorectal surgeon, Graham Newstead AM, about bowel surgery and what makes for an optimal surgical outcome. Dr Newstead discusses removal of the primary cancer and regional lymph nodes, the different types of surgical procedures - open, keyhole and robotic - as well as recovering from an operation. Give a $#*! About your bowel - June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month - Bowel Cancer Australia's signature event to raise awareness of Australia's second deadliest cancer.
26 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Chris discusses treatment planning and how his dog Pickle helped him
Stephanie chats with Chris about treatment options and the mental and physical impact of a metastatic bowel cancer diagnosis. Diagnosed with stage IV bowel cancer at the age of 41 Chris discusses his feelings of being diagnosed with the same disease his father passed away from, the importance of remaining positive, and how he navigated a bowel cancer diagnosis with lung metastases. Passionate about helping other young men, Chris talks honestly about the importance of connection, education and how his dog Pickle has helped him through the difficult moments.
24 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Dr Bernard Chin discusses quality colonoscopy - 'If you see brown, we see brown'
Gastroenterologist Dr Bernard Chin chats to Stephanie about what makes for a good bowel prep and quality colonoscopy. Dr Chin demystifies the procedure, shares tips to help patients prepare, and provides insights about what to expect before, during and after a colonoscopy. Based in Cairns, Bernard is passionate about providing patient centric care, training future gastroenterologists, and ensuring those living in regional Australia have access to timely quality health care. + + + If you are aged 18-and-over and have had a colonoscopy, we invite you to provide feedback about your experience. My Colonoscopy Experience is a simple online questionnaire that can be completed anonymously, which allows you to report what the colonoscopy experience was like for you, as a patient. It only takes a small amount of time to complete, but it can have a big impact. Help us ensure the patient voice is heard, so that future colonoscopy care reflects what patients want and need. Click the link to share your experience: https://bit.ly/3sMxAeL
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