Newcastle Citizen of the Year and ABC journalist Jill Emberson has called on the federal government to bring equity to funding for women’s cancers in a meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.
Ms Emberson and other Australians impacted by ovarian cancer joined Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten at a Teal Ribbon breakfast at Parliament House to mark February’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal women’s cancer and the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australia but funding for the deadly disease falls well below other women’s and men’s cancers.
Women with ovarian cancer received four times less funding than breast cancer and about half that of prostate cancer betweeen 2014 and 2018, according to data from the National Health and Medical Research Council.
“Australia has one of the best breast cancer and prostate cancer survival rates in the world. Australia also has the second lowest incidence rate and lowest death rate worldwide for cervical cancer,” Ms Emberson said.
“Government should be inspired by these world-leading achievements and support ovarian cancer researchers to make the same gains for us. Women like me could then feel hope instead of despair, [and] joy for the others instead of devastation and envy.
“We demand action from those who have the power to change the statistics for ovarian cancer. Quite simply that means a fair share of funding."
The former ABC Newcastle breakfast radio host was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016 and underwent treatment, but the disease has since returned.
READ MORE: Jill Emberson is back at 1233 ABC Newcastle
“Ovarian cancer sufferers would emulate our breast cancer sisters and form an army of advocates for our disease but we die too quickly to do so,” she said.
“My ovarian cancer is terminal but while I am alive I will do what I can to help our survival rate reach the hopeful 90 per cent, if not a cure.”
About 1600 Australian women are expected to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019 and it is estimated that more than 1000 will die from the disease.
Australians can show their support for Australians impacted by the disease by purchasing and wearing a teal ribbon on Ovarian Cancer Australia’s flagship day – Teal Ribbon Day – on Wednesday, February 27.
Teal ribbons are available for $3 from TerryWhite Chemist pharmacies and Black Pepper stores, as well as from Ovarian Cancer Australia.