Sign to save lives

17/02/2021

Last night I saw a tweet from a woman saying she had just lost a beautiful friend to ovarian cancer.

Then I saw this one:

I understand and am sympathetic to the concern about conversion therapy but how can a petition on that issue that will affect a very few people gain so much more support than this one that affects so many?

Petition request

That the House of Representatives urge the Government to support the development of ovarian cancer (OC) awareness/education campaigns for the public and health professionals; ensure women with OC symptoms have timely access to testing; improve access to approved therapies and clinical trials; and dedicate funding to OC research.

Petition reason

Ovarian cancer (OC) kills more women per year than the road toll. There is no screening test. In NZ the majority of women can’t name a single symptom before diagnosis. There are significant barriers to access detection tests. NZ survival is 5% less than Australia (Au)—NZ has far fewer funded drugs and clinical trials. Breast cancer survival is more than double OC. Au/Canada/US have dedicated OC research, we fund almost none. Supported by Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, OCANZ, Talk Peach and NZGCF.

Why does this petition deserve and need much more support?

The woman in the first tweet is one of three or four New Zealanders who will die of ovarian cancer this week; one of the +/- 182 the disease will kill this year.

That’s more than will die as a result of road accidents.

The government spends about $1 billion a year on road safety improvements and most years nothing at all on raising awareness of ovarian cancer, improving access to tests, treatments and clinical trials, or research.

Because of that the eight or 10 New Zealand women diagnosed with the disease this week and every week will find their survival rate is no better than it would have been decades ago.

One reason for that is that many are diagnosed late because they didn’t know the symptoms and often their doctors mistake it for other less serious conditions.

Another is that for years there has been little or no research to find better treatments and eventual cures.

That will change if the petition is acted on.

The petition is fronted by more daughter and supported by four gynaecological cancer organisations – Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer NZ,  Talk Peach and the NZ Gynaecological Cancer Foundation – and it is non-partisan.

Ovarian cancer doesn’t care about politics and it doesn’t discriminate. It strikes women of any age or ethnicity and it kills them.

It will keep killing them unless there is increased awareness of the symptoms, better access to testing, treatments and trials and a lot more research.

Please sign the petition and share this link to encourage family, friends, work mates . . . everyone you know to sign too: https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_99389/petition-of-jane-ludemann-for-cure-our-ovarian-cancer

P.S.

This isn’t intended to dissuade anyone from supporting the other petition – it’s not either/or.


Please sign the petitions

04/05/2019

Eight health groups are combining to seek more funding for Pharmac to fund drugs that extend lives or improve their quality.

They’re urging people to sign their petitions:

A range of health groups are calling on members of the public to sign petitions that will presented to Parliament on 7 May. They call for medicines to be funded that will help New Zealanders live longer, healthier lives and reduce extreme suffering.

“We need kiwis to support other kiwis who often can’t stand up for themselves because they are too unwell,” Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition committee member Louise Malone says.

“This is a real opportunity for people to say to the Government that the time for proper funding of medicines is now.”

The groups will march to Parliament, starting at Wellington Library then to PHARMAC for a candle lighting ceremony in commemoration of those who have gone before. Once they reach Parliament, the petitions will be accepted by MPs.

The petitions call for dramatically improved medicines funding to provide the care that people with a range of serious illnesses need.

“The medicines are desperately needed,” Lung Foundation New Zealand CEO Philip Hope says.

“If everyone knew the suffering that people go through with these diseases, most wouldn’t hesitate to sign the petitions.”

The groups are Lung Foundation New Zealand, Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, Ovarian Cancer New Zealand, Myeloma New Zealand, Pompe New Zealand and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Advocates New Zealand.

 

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Among the charities involved is Ovarian Cancer New Zealand.

Each year in New Zealand 350 women are diagnosed and 220 die from ovarian cancer. It’s the second biggest contributor to women’s cancer deaths from female specific cancers. Approximately one in 70 women will develop it in their lifetime.

New Zealand women with the disease don’t get access to the same drugs that are funded in other countries.

This is the motivation for a petition asking  Pharmac to fund Lynparza and Avastin for ovarian cancer, and also urging the Minister of Health to provide additional funding to Pharmac to enable the drugs to be subsidised.

Each year [in New Zealand] 350 women are diagnosed and 220 die from ovarian cancer. It’s the second biggest contributor to women’s cancer deaths from female specific cancers. In women with ovarian cancer linked to the BRCA gene, Lynparza can extend progression free survival by about one year and is reimbursed by Governments in Australia, UK, and most OECD countries. In women with advanced disease Avastin extends PFS by 6 months. . . 

Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late because the symptoms aren’t recognised.

Every woman, and those who care about them, should familiarise themselves with the symptoms.

Potential symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal/back/pelvic pain
  • Eating less and feeling fuller
  • Needing to pee more often or urgently
  • Bowel changes
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Painful intercause 
  • Unintentional weight loss

If women experience these for two weeks or longer they should tell their doctor. Ovarian cancer is detected with a blood test (CA-125) and ultrasound. 

The petition for better funding to treat ovarian cancer is here.

The other petitions are:

Breast cancer

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Lung cancer and Non small cell lung cancer

Myeloma

Multiple myeloma

Pompe disease

These organisations have recognised that insufficient money it the major reason Pharmac doesn’t fund treatments available in other countries which is why they’re asking that more is allocated.


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