Q&A Speaker Sessions

Q&A Speaker Sessions feature subject matter specialists sharing their knowledge in an interactive chat format.

Book a Q&A Session

We invite you to join us as we speak with a range of expert speakers covering a wide range of topics relevant to New Zealanders living with cancer.

The Q&A Speaker Sessions are free and we welcome anyone with cancer, new participants or past participants.

Q&A Speaker Sessions


Victoria Thompson - Bowel Cancer Q&A

Sunday 15 May 2022

We’re delighted to have Victoria join us today to talk about bowel cancer. Victoria is the Nurse Support Co-ordinator for Bowel Cancer NZ.

Victoria will share information about bowel cancer. She will talk about Bowel Cancer NZ, the support available for patients and whānau, general information about bowel cancer and most often asked questions about treatment.

An experienced Registered Nurse, she sees her new role as an amazing opportunity to help patients and whānau through nursing support, education and advice, and to help increase awareness of bowel cancer.

The role mainly includes supporting those who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer or their close family members through our confidential nurse support service. With an extensive background in community palliative care, Victoria is a ‘people person’ who loves helping others. Warm, approachable and easy-to-talk-to, she says she’s only ever had ‘the best’ patients and families. “If you’ve been diagnosed with bowel cancer, or someone you love has, don’t be afraid to reach out for support,” she says. “I can point you in the right direction, help you figure out all that confusing bowel cancer terminology and the effects of different treatments – and even help you work out what to say to your family.’

New additions to the role have included Workplace Wellbeing education talks to both the corporate sector and community groups. As well as overseeing the patient and whanau wellbeing services providing funding for free physiotherapy sessions for patients, and counselling for patients and whanau. This program is set to expand with 2022.



Lance Burdett - Practical Worry Management

Sunday 10 April 2022

In this session Lance will explain why we need to manage worry, how to create an action plan to manage better, and how to put the action into practice.

Our interactive chat gives you the opportunity to ask Lance questions on the practical worry management technique.

After 20 years in construction Lance spent 22 years as a cop becoming New Zealand’s leading crisis negotiator.

Lance has been described as “The most qualified and highly skilled negotiator within NZ Police”, training with the elite tactical units of Police, Corrections, Fire, Military, and the FBI.

Lance is now a speaker, coach, author and wellbeing expert. He has a Master of Arts Degree, (Terrorism, Safety & Security major), a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies, a Diploma in Policing and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Management.

Publishing two bestselling books – Behind the Tape, Life on the Police Frontline and Dark Side of the Brain, Adapting to Adversity – he is writing a third book on anxiety.

If you missed this session visit Lance’s YouTube channel or website to learn practical techniques for looking after yourself.

Dr Claire Hardie - Radiation Treatment

Sunday 27 March 2022

Our interactive chat gives you the opportunity to ask Dr Hardie questions on what radiation treatment is and why it is used in cancer treatment. She will talk about how radiation is delivered and its potential short and long term side effects.

Dr Claire Hardie is a radiation oncologist at Palmerston North Hospital.

She is also the Clinical Executive for Cancer Screening, Treatment and Support at MidCentral DHB.

Dr Hardie is the current Chair of the national Radiation Oncology Working Group, an advisory group to Te Aho o Te Kahu (Cancer Control Agency) and is the New Zealand representative on the Radiation Oncology Education Training Committee for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists.

Her specialist interests include breast, lung and prostate cancer and she is currently a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.

David Downs - CAR T-cell therapy

Sunday 13 February 2022

In this session we catch up with cancer survivor David Downs as he talks about CAR T-cell therapy and what the future looks like in New Zealand.

David is a cancer survivor and self-declared genetically modified organism who is paying it forward after receiving a lifeline from CAR T-cell therapy, a revolutionary new approach to fighting cancer using the body’s immune system.

In 2018, David was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and he documented his battle in an on-line column, which was read by tens of thousands across NZ and shared globally. After 12 rounds of punishing chemotherapy, David was told his cancer was terminal. But his fate turned when he got onto a clinical trial in the United States for CAR T-cell therapy. The treatment saved his life, but cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Returning home, he discovered the Malaghan Institute in Wellington had been working on a new version of CAR T-cell therapy and was planning New Zealand’s first clinical trial.

David pledged to raise $1 million to help fund the trial through his campaign, www.downwithcancer.nz

Since then, he has clocked hundreds of hours and kilometres driving support through dozens of public speaking events, media appearances, comedy shows and a book (‘A mild touch of the cancer’). He regularly meets with other patients and helps them navigate them into clinical trials where appropriate.

In his role as ambassador for the Malaghan Institute, and poster-boy for CAR T-cell therapy, he is working tirelessly to help bring the ground-breaking cancer treatment that saved him to New Zealand. He is an advocate for better and more affordable cancer investment and care nationally, supports others facing terminal diagnoses and gives hope and laughter to all those affected by cancer.

Anne Couchman & Graham Clouston - Plant Based Diets

Sunday 21 November 2021

Today we speak with registered nurse Anne Couchman and cancer survivor Graham Clouston, to chat about plant based diets.

Our interactive chat will cover:

  • Introduction to the Western lifestyle and the associated “diseases of affluence” which are: cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
  • Where the plant based diet fits in with health and wellness and its role in reversing and/or significantly modifying the detrimental effects of the “diseases of affluence”.
  • Where to start with plant based eating.
  • Getting all of your nutriments from plants.

Graham has been totally plant based since July 2016, Anne since March 2020.

Both experienced health improvements and look forward to the opportunity to share the knowledge they have acquired.

Kurt Lightfoot & Lynda Smith - Exercise and Nutrition

Sunday 10 October 2021

We speak to exercise trainer Kurt Lightfoot, and nutritionist Lynda Smith, about improving wellbeing through exercise and nutrition.


Kurt not only understands movement, he understands the rehabilitative benefits for cancer patients, both physically and mentally.

He owns and operates a gym in New Plymouth and works collaboratively with The Cancer Society running an exercise programme for men with prostate cancer.

Kurt’s focus is using exercise as a tool to help ready people for treatment with the goal of getting fitter and stronger and ultimately helping speed recovery having them back on their feet and returning to everyday life.


Nutritionist, Lynda understands the why and how of eating well.

Lynda will answer questions and talk about nutrition while undergoing cancer treatment. She will discuss common changes you may be experiencing such as mouth discomfort and metallic taste.

Lynda will also talk about ‘real foods’ and share ideas on what to eat when you don’t feel like preparing or eating a meal.

Book a Q&A Session



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