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Ovarian Cancer Australia Addresses Senate Inquiry.

31 January 2024

~ 3 minutes

Ovarian Cancer Australia Addresses Senate Inquiry: Equitable Access to Diagnosis and Treatment for Individuals with Rare and Less Common Cancers

Melbourne, 1 February – CEO of Ovarian Cancer Australia, Associate Professor Anna Boltong, passionately represented the ovarian cancer community on the first day of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month during the Senate Inquiry addressing equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for individuals with rare and less common cancers.

Associate Professor Anna Boltong emphasised, “We’re here for all of those women whose lives have ended too soon and for all those who continue to front up to the challenge of this disease. The current state of play for rare and less common cancers is inequitable, unacceptable and in need of revolutionising”.

Ovarian cancer, often referred to as “the silent killer”, leaves the women it affects feeling forgotten and invisible within the broader Australian community, confronting the harsh reality of a 5-year survival rate of just 49% - the deadliest female cancer in Australia. Ovarian Cancer Australia is committed to ensuring the right support at the right time for every individual at every stage of the cancer experience.

Since the inception of the Teal Support Program in 2019, 1,100 women have received personalised support from ovarian cancer specialists via this critical telehealth support service. With over 1,800 new diagnoses and approximately 1,000 women losing their lives to this disease every year, the ongoing need for support is essential.

Speaking at the inquiry, A/Prof Boltong stated, “The good news is that we don’t start with a blank page. Efforts have been made to identify opportunities to level the playing field”. Working collaboratively with stakeholders and the sector, Ovarian Cancer Australia has identified 7 key opportunities aligning with the National Women’s Health Strategy and Australian Cancer Plan.

  1. Supporting investment in priority populations within less common cancers whose outcomes are poorest and providing culturally safe care.

  2. Using health intelligence to address known variation in care and inequity.

  3. Greater investment in research, prioritising the early detection and treatment resistance.

  4. Ensuring all people have access to genetic testing and molecular profiling to support diagnosis, treatment planning and risk management.

  5. Systems to support the role of genomics, ensuring Australians know their risk and can access the best treatments and technologies and participate fully in clinical trials matching.

  6. Care guided by centres of excellence, delivered as close to home as safely possible.

  7. Reduce the time to listing for novel tests and therapies, to reduce the need for self-funding.

Ovarian Cancer Australia will continue its advocacy efforts this month hosting its 10th Annual Teal Ribbon Parliamentary Breakfast at Parliament House on February 6. The keynote speaker Christine Crupi will share her story on living with ovarian cancer, ensuring the voices of women with lived experience is heard by our nation's leaders.

Throughout February, Ovarian Cancer Australia and its generous supporters, including Principal Partner TerryWhite Chemmart, are hosting various initiatives to raise awareness, funds, and drive change. These include Giving Day on Wednesday, February 28th from 8:00am AEDT, which where all donations will be doubled for 24 hours by generous matching donors.

Visit the new website to discover how you can get involved throughout Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Acknowledgement flags

Ovarian Cancer Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where our office is located, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.