Q&A with Dr Rebecca Moor – October 2023

ABC Workshop October 2023 – Dr Rebecca Moor

This workshop consisted of a Q&A session with Dr Rebecca Moor, an oncologist at the Mater Cancer Care Centre. Dr Moor provided valuable information about the treatment and management of metastatic breast cancer.

Q1 - Does Nexium affect the efficacy of Xgeva?

Dr Rebecca Moor discusses the impact of Nexium on calcium absorption and offers guidance on its proper intake alongside other medications. She also notes the effects of reflux on quality of life and the advice she gives her patients regarding PPI’s (Proton-pump inhibitors ie medications to reduce stomach acid).

Q2 - Should we have bones density tests?

In a discussion on bone density, Dr. Rebecca Moor sheds light on the significance of Denosumab and Xgeva in alleviating bone pain and minimising fracture risks. She explains the role these medications, along with vitamins D and C, have in maintaining bone health. Additionally, she explains the guidelines regarding the requirement for bone density tests.

Q3 - What are the benefits of calcium supplements?

Dr Rebecca Moor addresses the consequences of low calcium levels and emphasises the role of diet in influencing these levels. She also highlights the significance of calcium supplements in ensuring the proper balance, particularly for individuals taking medications for bone health.

Q4 - Is there a connection between breast cancer and dairy or soy products?

Dr Rebecca Moor addresses the misconception regarding the potential risk of dairy or soy products in relation to breast cancer. She clarifies the origins of such information and emphasises the lack of substantial research supporting any connection. Additionally, she highlights valid dietary concerns such as lactose intolerance that patients may take into consideration when deciding whether to include these products in their diet.

Q5 - What are the problems associated with low calcium levels?

Dr Rebecca Moor discusses low calcium levels further, highlighting its impact on the digestive system but also the cardiovascular and renal systems. She elaborates on why oncologists conduct routine blood tests to monitor levels and ensure they remain within a healthy range.

Q6 - Should we still have mammograms?

Dr Rebecca Moor explains that although mammograms are typically not necessary for individuals with metastatic breast cancer, there are certain circumstances in which an oncologist may recommend it for their patient.

Q7 - Is there a link between sugar and cancer?

Dr Rebecca Moor addresses what she thinks may be the source of the perceived association between sugar and cancer but says that there is insufficient evidence to support the exclusion of sugar from a patient’s diet.

Q8 - Can you go back on hormone treatment if other treatments stop working?

Dr Rebecca Moor explains that hormone positive breast cancers can develop resistance to hormone blocking therapies. And that unfortunately, once this resistance is established, the likelihood of hormone therapies regaining their effectiveness is minimal.

Q9 - Treatment options and hair loss

Dr Rebecca Moor elaborates on the differences in chemotherapy treatments for metastatic cancer, emphasising the need to take into account factors like quality of life when formulating a treatment plan. She also outlines specific chemotherapy options and the associated side effects.

Q10 - Pain relief and cannabis

Dr Rebecca Moor addresses the use of cannabis and its potential benefits for patients. She emphasises that the effectiveness of treatment varies among individuals, and her experience suggests that while some people have found it helpful for various reasons, others have not. She suggests that patients looking to try it inform their oncologist.

Q11 - Liaising with your oncologist

Dr Rebecca Moor discusses the dynamics between a patient and their oncologist. She emphasises the evolving nature of this relationship and stresses the vital role of maintaining an open and ongoing dialogue between them.

Q12 - Finding solutions

Dr Rebecca Moor talks about what action can be taken if a patient feels like they are not being listened to by their oncologist. She suggests reasons as to why this may occur and offers advice for patients to attain a positive outcome.

Q13 - Are women living longer with advanced breast cancer?

Dr Rebecca Moor outlines the therapies that have extended the lives of women with metastatic hormone positive cancer. She says that, in certain instances, the duration patients can remain on a specific medication has more than doubled. She then goes on to discuss advancements in new therapies for different cancer types.

Q14 - Bones

Dr Rebecca Moor provides detailed insights into the drug Denosumab, highlighting its role in complementing breast cancer treatments by alleviating bone pain and reducing the risk of fractures.

Q15 - Clinical trials

Dr Rebecca Moor explains how drug trials are conducted, specifically around the use of placebos and the consequent impact on participating patients. She highlights the infrequency of trials where patients are exclusively administered placebos, attributing this to the many treatment options available.

Q16 - More about clinical trials

Dr Rebecca Moor explains how drug trials are conducted, what’s involved, and the factors that patients need to consider when thinking about joining a clinical trial.

Q17 - Different types of scans

Dr Rebecca Moor provides a detailed explanation of the various scans utilised by oncologists during cancer treatment. She assesses the advantages and disadvantages of each type of scan, as well as their specific applications for different types of cancers.

Q18 - Are some types of breast cancer more likely to metastasise to the brain?

Dr Rebecca Moor refers to ductal and lobular forms of breast cancer and the differences in their potential to metastasise to the brain. She talks about the advice she offers her patients on recognising symptoms that are specific to their particular type of cancer.