One New Zealand woman dies of ovarian cancer every 48 hours.
You can help change that horrifying statistic by following this link and signing the petition to save lives.
It is the work of four gynaecological cancer organisations that are seeking better outcomes for women with the disease with a petition that seeks better education of women and health practitioners, improved access to tests and treatment, improved access to clinical trials and a lot more research.
The petition is non-partisan, the women promoting it have worked across parliament to get cross-party support.
The media release from Ovarian Cancer Awareness explains:
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 Cancer Foundation. If can be accessed here:
Ovarian Cancer – some facts
- One New Zealand woman dies of ovarian cancer every 48 hours.
- Ovarian cancer survival overall less than half that of breast cancer. For advanced (stage 3-4) ovarian cancer, the 5 year survival rates are 3-4+ times less.
- 90% of NZ women can’t name a single symptom before they are diagnosed. The majority of women in NZ are diagnosed at an advanced stage.
- In New Zealand overall survival is 37%, a figure which hasn’t changed in over 15 years, and is 5% less than Australia. If detected at stage 1 (when the cancer is contained within the ovary) survival is over 90 %
- A cervical smear does not detect ovarian cancer. There is no screening test. However, a ca-125 blood test and transvaginal ultrasound can detect over 98% of ovarian cancers and their combined cost is similar to a mammogram. But over a quarter of NZ women with ovarian cancer have to visit their doctor 5 or more times about their symptoms before being offered a test
- Australian government in 2019 announced targeted research funding – allocating an additional $35 million ($20 million for ovarian cancer and a further $15 million for gynaecological clinical trials). The New Zealand government has funded no research in this area for the past three years.
- For more information see: https://ovariancancer.co.nz
Jane is my daughter. I wrote about her living under the cancer sword here.
Her personal website is janehascancer.com
You’ll find more about the petition and ovarian cancer at Ovarian Cancer Aotearoa Coalition