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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11682


Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (11:48): Firstly, I would like to congratulate the member for Calwell on bringing this motion to the House. She has been a longstanding advocate of breast cancer awareness within this parliament. She has international connections in relation to breast cancer, not just within Australia, so there could be no person more important in this parliament to raise this issue than the member for Calwell.

As set out in the motion, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and members on both sides of the parliament support that, with 26 October being Pink Ribbon Day. Despite all the efforts, despite all the research, breast cancer still remains one of the most significant cancers in Australia and is the second largest killer of women. We must continue to raise awareness of breast cancer. We must all support this awareness month, promote early detection and encourage women between the ages of 50 and 74 to have mammograms. They are the core group that we are encouraging to have mammograms. But, once you turn 74, you should not cease having a mammogram; it is just that you do not get the usual reminders. I encourage women that are over the age of 74 to continue to have mammograms.

The support for women that are undergoing testing, and who are actually diagnosed with breast cancer, is much better than it used to be. I had an experience myself where I had to have a second mammogram. All I thought was that, because I had moved house, I had been called to do it again. When I went in to have that second mammogram I was greeted by a consultant who told me that she was my support person for that day. When you go in, you are supported through the whole process. You have an ultrasound—and that is where it finished with me—but, if it is identified that there is a lump, you then have a lumpectomy to have it checked. From there, if it is found that you do have breast cancer, the support you are given throughout that day continues.

In the Hunter we are very fortunate to have Professor John Forbes. He has been heading up the Australia and New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group. It is one of the most successful and respected, and longest established, breast cancer research groups in the world. It has been going for more than 35 years. Each year, I hold a breast cancer morning tea, and Professor Forbes has come along on many occasions and spoken to women about the need to have regular checks and what to look for, and settled the concerns of many women who might have a family history of breast cancer. As well as being a leading academic and a person that heads up trials, he has that common touch where he goes and talks to groups of women in a community setting. He was awarded an AM and he richly deserved it.

My breast cancer morning tea this year is on 31 October and it will be held at the Belmont Bowling Club. We will have Paula from the Breast Cancer Foundation in attendance. We will have a speaker from the Breast Cancer Trials Group. As well as that, we are going to have a little bit of fun. We are going to have a fashion parade; Uproar fashion will be presenting their latest range. The wonderful Carolyn Bear, who produced a number of bracelets that members of this House wore in relation to ovarian cancer, will be up there supporting breast cancer.

We must never forget that women with breast cancer need support. We must never forget that early detection is the most successful treatment for this cancer— (Time expired)