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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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Liverpool to host Eurovision Song Contest

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After months of build-up, the British city of Liverpool has finally taking the reins as the official host of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest

Competing countries have also found out which semi-final they will be in and who their rivals will be.

Germany, Italy and France will all vote in the first semi final, while, the U.K., Spain and Ukraine will all cast their votes in the second semi-final.

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest contest last year and should be this year’s host – but the ongoing war means the country is unable to.

The semi-finals, and the final, will be held in Liverpool in May.

Eurovision 2023 marks the first year ever that non-participating countries can vote.

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Pet fish playing Nintendo Switch rack up credit card bill

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Pet fish playing a video game in Japan have managed to log on to the Nintendo Switch store, change their owner’s avatar, set up a PayPal account and rack up a credit card bill

And it was all seemingly livestreamed on a YouTube channel, in real time.

The channel owner, Mutekimaru, had previously installed sophisticated motion detection tracking software in fish tanks, enabling the fish to remotely control a Nintendo Switch console.

But the technology, led to an unexpected turn of events earlier this month while the owner was live-streaming a game of Pokémon.

The fish managed to change the name of their owner’s Switch account before twice logging into the Nintendo store.

They also managed to “check” legal terms and conditions, downloaded a new avatar and even set up a PayPal account from the Switch.

The fish were also seen adding 500 yen to the Switch account from the owner’s credit card during the livestream – exposing his credit card details in the process.

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BuzzFeed to use ChatGPT-created content on website

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BuzzFeed is set to go by on A.I-generated content, with the company to use ChatGPT to create content for the site

The media giant plans to use the service to generate quizzes and further personalise its user experience.

“If the past 15 years of the internet have been defined by algorithmic feeds that curate and recommend content, the next 15 years will be defined by AI and data helping create, personalise and animate the content itself,” BuzzFeed Chief Executive Jonah Peretti recently said.

BuzzFeed recently announced that it would be cutting 12 per cent of its workforce to rein in costs.

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