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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11681

Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (11:43): I thank the member for Calwell for bringing this motion to the House, particularly with the month of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and next Monday being Pink Ribbon Day. Most of us are aware of the devastating impact breast cancer has on our community, and most would know a friend, a loved one, or a community member impacted by this devastating disease. We all have a role to play in minimising its impact.

Breast cancer remains one of the most common cancers for Australian women and the second-most common cause of cancer death in Australian women. On the Central Coast, latest figures indicate that breast cancer is just short of 12 per cent of all cancer cases. This is the second-highest, behind prostate cancer, which is closer to 16 per cent. I join with my colleagues in supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, in doing so, encourage women to recognise the successful remission cases as a result of early detection. I also acknowledge that men can be impacted by this disease. Early detection significantly increases survival rates, with one in eight women developing breast cancer in their lifetime. So it is important that women undergo mammograms and ultrasounds. Women aged between 50 and 74 in particular are encouraged to undergo a mammogram and ultrasound every two years. In highlighting the importance of mammograms for this age group, I do note that BreastScreen NSW provide free mammograms to women aged between 50 and 69.

The fight against breast cancer is one that is coordinated nationally and implemented locally, and a number of charities have become household names in raising awareness of breast cancer. One such organisation is the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is the leading community-funded organisation in Australia raising money for research into the prevention and cure of breast cancer, and this group has delivered a number of well-publicised research projects in recent years. Since its establishment in 1994, the National Breast Cancer Foundation has awarded over $155 million to over 400 research projects Australia-wide.

Today's motion also acknowledges the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia. This organisation was also established in 1994, as the fundraising and education section of the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group. The Breast Cancer Institute of Australia reflect proudly on their achievements with their mention that 'more women survive breast cancer today than ever before'. Specifically, the 30 per cent decline in deaths from breast cancer over the previous 20 years is a huge achievement.

Research is of course a huge component of combating breast cancer in our community. However, fundraising efforts by a number of organisations also play a key role. To this end, the National Breast Cancer Foundation are currently running their 'Real Men Wear Pink' campaign—and congratulations to all the men proudly supporting this initiative by wearing bright pink work gear. Over a quarter of a million dollars has been raised so far, with the foundation hoping to reach half a million dollars by the end of the campaign.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation are joined in their fundraising efforts by the Breast Cancer Institute of Australia. The institute holds a number of ongoing fundraising initiatives, including assistance to host workplace or community morning teas where small donations are made, as well as a Mother's Day Research Appeal. The Mother's Day Research Appeal provides participants with Mother's Day cards in either physical or email form, and the purchase of the cards assists in the fundraising efforts of the institute.

The broader community also play a huge role in assisting fundraising efforts for research as well as care of breast cancer patients. For many years I have been actively supporting breast cancer awareness and research fundraising activities within my community. In my electorate of Dobell, our community generously undertakes and supports numerous fundraising activities to support women and men afflicted with breast cancer. At the end of this week, the pink tractor will be arriving on the Central Coast to mark the event, and a fundraising event is being held at The Entrance, with the NRL community taking a prominent role.

Further south on the coast, Stacey Saul and her amazing committee have organised a Halloween themed Cancer Council pink ribbon event. Money raised will go to women with breast and gynaecological cancer on the Central Coast. Tickets for this event alone have already taken them to $10,000. Thank you to the local businesses who have donated around $5,000 in sponsorship and other donations. Whilst the event is not being held in my electorate of Dobell, members of the Dobell community will benefit from the funds raised.

Congratulations to everyone who is involved in breast cancer awareness. I congratulate you all on your efforts.