In 2019, 1600 Australian women are expected to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1000 will die from the disease.
February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Newcastle/Australia ... it’s time for ovary-action
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal women’s cancer and the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australia but funding for the deadly disease falls well below other women’s and men’s cancers.
Expenditure data published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) reveals that, between 2014 and 2018, ovarian cancer received four times less research funding than breast cancer and around half that of prostate cancer.
Combined data from the NHMRC and the Australian Department of Health shows that funding for ovarian cancer fell millions of dollars below funding for cervical cancer in the same time period.
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer.
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any women’s cancer. Only 46 per cent of women will be alive five years after diagnosis. Survival rates for breast and prostate cancers have doubled in past 10 years, yet they continue to dominate the funding pool.
Only 46 per cent of women will be alive five years after diagnosis.
In comparison, the five-year survival rate of cervical cancer is now at 72 per cent, breast cancer 91 per cent and prostate cancer 95 per cent.
Yet funding for high-impact research into ovarian cancer is falling well behind these cancers.
The survival rates of both breast cancer and prostate cancer have doubled in past 10 years, yet they continue to dominate the cancer funding pool.
Although there has been some improvement in the drugs available to women living with ovarian cancer in the past few years, the vast majority of women living with the disease today are receiving similar treatment as women diagnosed with the disease in the 1970s. That’s nearly 50 years!
Ovarian Cancer Australia welcomed the Scott Morrison government’s $1.6 million commitment made yesterday for a case management service to provide better access to psychosocial support for women with ovarian cancer, particularly in rural and regional areas. Delivered through Ovarian Cancer Australia, the pilot program is built upon a psychosocial support case management model using tele-health to provide care and support to ovarian cancer patients and their families.
Ovarian cancer’s shocking mortality rate means our women face significant levels of distress with more than 40 per cent experiencing clinical levels of anxiety and/or depression.
The funds promised by the Morrison government will truly make a difference in the lives of women impacted by this insidious disease.
But there is still work to be done. This disease is taking our mothers, daughters, wives and sisters. It’s not going away.
We could match that success for women living with ovarian cancer but simply put, we need funding for high-impact research.
The good news is, with your help, we can change the face of ovarian cancer in Australia.
You can help, by ovary-acting to raise awareness and funds to help Ovarian Cancer Australia deliver research, awareness and advocacy programs so that we can continue to save lives and support women impacted by this insidious disease.
You can ovary-act by hosting a Paint the Town Teal fundraiser. Throw an afternoon tea, a long lunch, a golf day or a gala dinner. Anything goes, as long as it’s teal, the international colour for ovarian cancer. You can register your event here: paintthetownteal.net.au
Or ovary-act by educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Symptoms can include abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, the need to urinate often or urgently and feeling full after eating only a small amount. If these symptoms are new and persistent for women they should visit their doctor without delay.
Finally, ovary-act by purchasing and wearing a teal ribbon on Ovarian Cancer Australia’s flagship day - Teal Ribbon Day - on Wednesday February 27. Teal ribbons are available for $3 from TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacies and Black Pepper stores nationally, as well as from Ovarian Cancer Australia at ovariancancer.net.au, where people can also donate directly.