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Virtual Christmas choir raising the spirits of cancer survivors

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Survivors of head and neck cancer are raising their voices in this festive season in chorus for government funding

They’ve had invasive, life-altering surgeries on their face, tongue, throat, sinuses and salivary glands. They’ve experienced the exquisite, life-saving pain of radiotherapy. They’ve endured rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy

However, despite invasive surgeries on their face, tongue, throat and sinuses, over 60 people created a virtual choir, singing deck the halls.

Head and Neck Cancer Australia Chief Executive, Nadia Rosin, says the choir’s voices include the real voices of survivors and the people who love them. For choir members who could not sing because of surgery, pain, side effects or even fear of singing, they were welcome to clap, dance, play an instrument or even hold up a sign. 

Unlike some more common cancers, head and neck cancer receives no government funding in Australia for many patient outcomes.

Raising our Voices: Head and Neck Cancer Australia Christmas Carol

14 people newly diagnosed every day with a type of Head and Neck Cancer the information, resources, advocacy and support Head and Neck Cancer Australia (HANCA) provides is vital.

Whether it was singing, clapping, holding up a sign, playing an instrument or dancing, the joy expressed by everyone truly makes this performance incredibly special!

Head and Neck Cancer Australia chief executive Nadia Rosin says that more than a thousand Australians died every year from a head or neck cancer “but unlike some more common cancers, head and neck cancer receives no government funding for prevention, early diagnosis or to improve patient outcomes”.

“Many people haven’t even heard of head and neck cancers until they, or someone they love, is diagnosed with one of these cancers. Think sinus cancer, salivary gland cancer, throat cancer, laryngeal cancer and lip or mouth cancer,” Rosin says.

The most important risk factors for head and neck are tobacco and alcohol use which are responsible for over 75% of cases. But what many people may not know is that today in Australia, the human papilloma virus (HPV), the same virus that causes cervical cancer is the most common cause of tonsil cancer and tongue-based cancer.

There has also been an alarming 385% increase in oral cancers in young women under 45 and the cause is unknown. So even if you don’t smoke or drink to excess, you could be at risk

“Our choir is elevating the voices of survivors and advocating for the 5,100 Australians diagnosed every year, and the 17,000 Australians living with the effects of head and neck cancer, so that we can raise awareness and deliver the right support and treatment for our Head and Neck Cancer community,” Rosin says.

“Given that many people’s voices and ability to speak is changed by head and neck cancer, or its treatment, it might seem strange that we’ve decided to form a pop-up, virtual choir. But we worked very closely with an experienced choir master, speech pathologist and mixing engineer so that everyone who wanted to participate could participate.”

Head and neck cancers are such a sinister disease and the effects of the cancer and their treatment can stay with people for the rest of their lives. It is displayed on their faces for the world to see and it cannot be hidden by clothing. 

Unlike some more common cancers, there is no screening test for head and neck cancer so all Australians, particularly men, need to be aware of the signs and symptoms and act quickly if they notice something unusual.

Some of the more common causes of head and neck cancer include a sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal, pain swallowing, a sore throat or a lump in the neck. Other symptoms can include ear pain, a blocked nose on one side and/or bloody discharge or a bulging or watery eye.

The best thing people can do to reduce their risks around head and neck cancer to is to be aware of the symptoms and get them checked out by their local doctor or dentist without delay. An early diagnosis can make all the difference.

The carol will be sent to every politician in Australia to advocate for funding support.

“We encourage everyone across the country to share it far and wide. Funding for awareness and patient support is the way we’ll improve health outcomes – and literally change lives – for people diagnosed with head and neck cancer,” Rosin says.

People are being encouraged to donate to HANCA Christmas Appeal to support the head and neck cancer community and raising the voices of people living with Head and Neck Cancer.

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It’s finally here… Obi Wan Kenobi drops on Disney+

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Disney has wrapped up its big Star Wars Conference…. as fans get set for the highly anticipated ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ spin-off.

The film sees Ewan McGregor step into the famous character.

It takes fans back 10 years after “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” where Obi-Wan Kenobi faced his greatest defeat.

McGregor says it was a slow process of getting back into character but assures fans there’s plenty to look forward to.

The series will also see the return of Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader.

The mini-series drops on Disney Plus today. Here’s a sneak peak…

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Kevin Spacey facing sex offences trial in the UK

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Kevin Spacey is staring down the barrel of a sex offences trial after Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service authorised charges against the actor.

Police allege the offences occurred between March 2005 and April 2013, with four of the incidents in London and one outside the city.

They involve three men, one who is now in his 40s and two who are in their 30s.

The CPS has authorised criminal charges against the 62-year-old Oscar winner for four counts of sexual assault.

There is also one charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent.

This all follows a review of evidence which previously gathered by the U-K’s Met Police.

Spacey has largely dropped out of the spotlight since first being accused of sexual misconduct five years ago.

He was written out of the Netflix series “House of Cards” and removed from the movie “All the Money in the World” after the accusations came to light.

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WATCH – Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez grills Amber Heard for ‘lying on the stand’

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Testimonies in the Depp and Heard defamation trial have come to a dramatic end

Heard was called back to the witness stand on Thursday to testify as a rebuttal witness for her counterclaim against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

The cross-examination got heated as Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez questioned Heard for the second time.

The actress is visibly frustrated under cross-examination and turns to the jury to give each answer but stand her ground.

The Aquaman star also denies leaking footage of Depp smashing kitchen cabinets to TMZ.

Appearing vexed, Heard fires back at Depp’s attorney, telling her to look at the metadata on a photo when asked about the date of it.

Depp’s lawyer told Heard that “your lies have been exposed to the world”.

On the stand, Heard got emotional as she testified that Depp “promised” he would ruin the actress and says she receives hundreds of death threats daily.

She told the court not only does she get harassed daily, but is also very upset that she receives threats directed at her baby too.

Heard is firm that she wrote the Washington Post op-ed because Depp is a powerful man, saying that people would come out of the woodwork to support him.

This follows Depp’s rebuttal for his defamation claim on Wednesday.

The actor described the experience of listening to his ex-wife’s testimony in the trial as “insane”.

He flat out denies Heard’s allegations of abuse.

The actress reiterates that she did not fake her abuse allegations.

Heard’s witnesses on Thursday included a forensic expert, and a clinical psychologist who diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Both sides rest their cases ahead of closing arguments on Friday, followed by jury deliberations.

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