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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 February 2004) . . Page.. 162 ..

Mrs Dunne: We have already agreed to the title.

Mr Stanhope: I did not realise that. Okay, I beg the pardon of all of those officials who have worked on this for two years. They have done an absolutely wonderful job and I acknowledge the fantastic effort of my officials.

Bill agreed to.


Motion (by Mr Wood) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week

MS MacDONALD (12.02 am): I will not speak for long. Obviously, I cannot speak for longer than five minutes anyway. I just wanted to raise for members’ attention the fact that this week is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week. I was lucky enough to be the person who launched National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week at the Hyatt Hotel on Sunday. The theme of this week is improving awareness of ovarian cancer and its purpose is to ensure that Australian women are given the knowledge to assist in the early recognition of the condition. This knowledge and early treatment significantly improves their clinical management of women with the disease and assists their return to health.

Ovarian cancer does not have the profile of other conditions, yet it is a diagnosis that affects around 1,200 women each year. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in women and, tragically, approximately 800 women a year are claimed by the condition. Those deaths affect our families and our society, as they signal the loss of the skills and contributions of so many talented Australian women.

The main difficulty in managing ovarian cancer is the lack of early diagnosis and the delay in commencing treatment. This is largely because the initial symptoms are easily overlooked or misinterpreted. In fact, almost 75 per cent of cases are not diagnosed until the condition is at an advanced stage. One of the reasons that the symptoms are overlooked is that they are vague, including things such as feeling bloated or putting on weight, losing weight and so on, things that many women undergo as a normal part of their lives.

There is no screening or detection test for ovarian cancer. Research continues to attempt to identify ways of recognising the condition earlier, however, success in this field is likely to be some time away. Until such a screening test is developed, our main weapon remains providing information to and educating women at risk. I should mention as well that most women who get ovarian cancer are over the age of 45.

There are four vital elements of the ovarian cancer awareness message: ovarian cancer must be considered in cases of unexplained pelvic, abdominal and gastrointestinal disorders; ovarian cancers are often mistakenly diagnosed; there is no reliable screening

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