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'Petition seeks fair support for women with ovarian cancer'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With women leading both major parties and the highest number of female MPs (38%) since women were first allowed to stand for Parliament in 1919, it’s time that proper attention was paid to one of the most fatal of women’s cancers.

Organiser of a petition asking for a better deal for education about and support for ovarian cancer, Jane Ludemann, says that legislators and decision makers need to start taking this disease seriously; it kills a woman every two days in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Ovarian Cancer is the most deadly gynaecological cancer, and kills more women than New Zealand’s annual road toll and more than melanoma. Yet it remains underfunded and largely ignored," she says.

Jane is spearheading a petition to Parliament asking for the development of ovarian cancer education campaigns for the public and health professionals, better access to testing for women with symptoms, improved access to approved therapies and clinical trials, and dedicated funding of research.

"The most significant issues around ovarian cancer begin with the lack of knowledge about it - women don’t know the symptoms and leave it too long to report to their doctors, who themselves often don’t connect the symptoms with the cause.

"Next, there is no specific screening test for ovarian cancer (unlike a mammogram for breast cancer or a smear for cervical cancer) and providers use the excuse of funding to leave symptomatic women untested.

"Then we lack access to drugs that are proven effective overseas and to clinical trials - which would allow women to access promising new treatments.

Jane says that virtually every advance in cancer survival has been made on the back of clinical trials and the lack of funding in this country means the trials are not available here.

"It is extraordinary that the government spends more than $126 million on medical research through the Health Research Council (HRC) every year. In 2018, 2019 and (to date) in 2020 the HRC has not funded any ovarian cancer research at all.

"Significant improvements in survival just cannot be made without advances in treatment and screening through research.

"There are just too many families affected by the Ovarian Cancer-caused illness and deaths of mothers, partners, sisters, nieces and friends. In the lead up to the election we hope both sides of the house will pay attention to this very real health issue," she said.

The petition is being supported by Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Awareness, Talk Peach, and the New Zealand Gynaecological Foundation. If can be accessed here:

www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_99389/petition-of-jane-ludemann-for-cure-our-ovarian-cancer

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