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 29 October 2023 

Victoria is the Nurse Support for Bowel Cancer NZ. 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.

Victoria’s role mainly includes supporting those who have been diagnosed with bowel cancer or their close family members. With an extensive background in community palliative care, Victoria is a ‘people person’ who loves helping others. “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.’

David Downs - Clinical Trials

Sunday 24 September 2023

In this session we catch up with cancer survivor David Downs as he talks about clinical trials.

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

In 2018, David was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After 12 rounds of punishing chemotherapy, David was told his cancer was incurable. But his fate turned when he got onto a clinical trial in the USA 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

Ka’ula Knoche

Sunday 27th August 2023

We are delighted to welcome Ka’ula, a registered Psychologist and  Manager of the Psychological Service at the Cancer Society. Ka’ula will chat about coping strategies. She has 5 years’ experience working in psycho-oncology, both in public and not-for-profit sectors. She specializes in supporting patients to cope with chronic and acute health conditions, stress management and adjusting to major life changes. Ka’ula believes in working alongside her patients to create effective and long-lasting psychological change.


Josh Roche

Sunday 6 August 2023

Josh is a former Soldier who then went on to spend time as a monk in India. These two experiences were foundational in creating a lifelong fascination and study into the mind.
Josh is a long term practitioner of Meditation and Yoga, trains Life Coaches and Clinical Hypnotherapists, runs his own High Performance Coaching Business and is heavily involved in Skydiving, Mountaineering, and Paragliding.

Josh will chat about using Mindfulness during challenging times. He will explain; the benefits and how to use Mindfulness for managing profound challenges; and basic Mindfulness Practices.

Lance Burdett - Anxiety through and post treatment

Sunday 25 June 2023 In this session Lance will chat about  managing sleep. He will share tips for better sleep.

Our interactive chat gives you the opportunity to ask Lance questions.

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.

Candice Kitt

Sunday 30th April 2023

Candice has recently moved to the Far North from Auckland where she specializes in cancer rehabilitation as a certified PINC physio, qualified Lymphoedema practitioner and musculoskeletal therapist. Originally from Canada, she worked in Vancouver and California in health and fitness with a degree from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also a certified Next Steps instructor, both studio based and online, and Paddle On instructor. Candice is excited to bring these services to her community to help provide access, initiate funding streams, and bridge the gap in health care in New Zealand.

Anne Couchman & Graham Clouston - Plant Based Diets

Sunday 11 September 2022

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

Our interactive chat will cover:

  • Where the plant based diet fits in with health and wellness.
  • 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.

Dr Anitha - Sleep Better

Sunday 10 July 2022

Dr Anitha is an Integrative Sleep Practitioner, a Former Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon and a Cancer & Life Coach.

She works with those whose lives have been affected by cancer by helping them navigate the journey in a more empowered, aware and science-based way, to maximize their chances of having an optimum outcome from the illness.

She has decades of experience in the field of sleep and treating various sleep disorders like snoring and insomnia, both in adults and teens. She also has personal experience of cancer having gone through Breast Cancer herself in 2020.

Dr Anitha is actively involved in spreading the awareness of the importance of sleep in cancer and has been an invited speaker in various international summits and cancer related organizations.

Emma Salmon - Keeping active

Sunday 12 June 2022

Emma is a certified PINC & STEEL Oncology Rehabilitation Physiotherapist. She has also done NEXT STEPS training. This approach incorporates cardio, strength and meditation components to help with fitness and wellbeing and provide a support network following cancer treatment.

In this session Emma will share information about the many benefits of staying active before, during and after Cancer treatment.

She will talk in particular about rehab after Breast Cancer surgery.

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.

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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