Please sign the petitions

May 4, 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.


Cancer doesn’t just come in pink

February 4, 2019

It’s World Cancer Day.

Women, and those who care about them, must remember cancer doesn’t just come in pink.

Ovarian cancer isn’t detected by smears.

Symptoms can include:

abdominal bloating/swelling, abdominal/back/pelvic pain, change in bowel function, urinary frequency or urgency, eating less and feeling fuller, indigestion, unintentional weight loss, painful intercourse, fatigue and abnormal vaginal bleeding. If these symptoms are new, unusual or worsening and last for more than two weeks it is important to see a doctor, and keep seeing a doctor until you get a diagnosis.


World Ovarian Cancer Day

May 8, 2018

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day.

Each year on May 8th, women living with ovarian cancer, their families and supporters, along with patient advocacy organizations from around the world, come together to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD) is the one day of the year we all raise our voices in solidarity across the world in the fight against this disease. . .

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all female cancers. Most women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making it more difficult to treat. There are often delays in diagnosing ovarian cancer. That is because there is no early detection test, and symptoms are often confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Five-year ovarian cancer survival rates vary around the world, ranging from 30% to 45%. By comparison, five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer range from 80% to 90%.

Ovarian cancer is overlooked and underfunded – yet every woman in the world is at risk of developing this disease.

You can find more about WOCD on Facebook and Twitter

And more about the disease at Ovarian Cancer New Zealand which lists the symptoms:

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

Bloating/abdominal (tummy) swelling

Eating less and feeling fuller

Pain in your abdomen/pelvis/back

Needing to pee more often (or leaking)

Other symptoms you might also experience include:

 Bowel changes  Indigestion  Painful Intercourse  Fatigue  Unusual Weight Loss  Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

Remember, symptoms can be vague and easy to ignore so listen to what your body is telling you and then discuss this with your doctor

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Ovarian cancer kills one woman in New Zealand every 48 hours.

Early detection improves outcomes.


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