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Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Page: 212

Ms BRODTMANN ( Canberra ) ( 13:54 ): February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month; and, as the ACT's ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia, I am using this month to promote awareness of this disease and to encourage Australians to raise funds for vital research.

We do not know what causes ovarian cancer, and sadly there is currently no reliable early detection test or screening program for it. Each year, more than 1,200 Australian women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and around 800 will die from the disease. On average, three Australian women are diagnosed every day.

Unfortunately, when most women are diagnosed, their cancer will be at an advanced stage. More than half these women will not live for five years after their diagnosis. But, if ovarian cancer is found in the early stages, up to 95 per cent of women will be alive and well after five years.

The key to early diagnosis is to know the symptoms and to see your doctor if they arise. Almost all women diagnosed report four symptoms: abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, needing to urinate often or urgently and feeling full after eating a small amount.

This February I ask you each of us here to learn these symptoms and to make sure our wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends know these symptoms too. Tonight I am pleased to be co-hosting—along with my fellow Ambassador, Kelly O'Dwyer, and also Sarah Hanson-Young—drinks to raise awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer Australia.