The Senate has today paid tribute to the late Senator Jeannie Ferris and urged all Australians to support this month’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
A motion* from South Australian Coalition Senators and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women, passed unanimously by the Senate this afternoon, highlights Ms Ferris’s work in establishing a Parliamentary inquiry into gynaecological cancers after being diagnosed with the disease herself in 2005.
This inquiry culminated in the Senate Committee Report, Breaking the silence: a national voice for gynaecological cancers, which saw the eventual establishment of the National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers.
“Jeannie’s work to raise awareness of ovarian cancer was a courageous and deeply personal cause,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“Her legacy continues to be celebrated by her colleagues, the medical community and those women and families touched by this devastating disease”
Ovarian cancer continues to be a silent-killer amongst Australian women. This year:
- More than 1,200 women will be diagnosed with the disease; three women every day
- 800 Australian women will lose their lives to this disease; one woman every 11 hours
- 70% of ovarian cancers are advanced at the time of diagnosis, currently there is no detection test
South Australian Coalition Senators Cory Bernardi, Simon Birmingham, Sean Edwards, David Fawcett and Mary Jo Fisher and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women Michaelia Cash encouraged all Australians to mark Teal Ribbon Day on 29 February by wearing a ribbon in aid of Ovarian Cancer Australia’s support and research programs.
February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, Ovarian Cancer Australia encourages the community to learn the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer as well as raise funds in support of support programs and resources for those affected by ovarian cancer.
Jeannie Ferris was a Liberal Senator for South Australia from 1996. She was elected Deputy Government Whip in the Senate from 2001 to 2002 and subsequently Government Whip from 2003 to 2007. In 2005 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer to which she succumbed in 2007.
*Motion as passed:
To be moved in the Senate by Senators Bernardi, Birmingham, Edwards, Fawcett, Fisher and Cash:
That this House:
a) February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, a month to both raise awareness of gynaecological cancer as well as ensure all women know the symptoms of this silent-killer.
b) Ovarian Cancer Australia invites the community to raise important funds for support programs and resources for women affected by this cancer and for a national program for ovarian cancer
c) 2012 Teal Ribbon Day is 29 February 2012, a day when all Australians are encouraged to wear a teal ribbon to support Ovarian Cancer Australia’s research programs.
d) On Valentine’s Day, Ovarian Cancer Australia encourages Australian women to K.I.S.S (Know the Important Signs and Symptoms of ovarian cancer). Recognising the important symptoms of this cancer helps in early detection, which is critical as all too often this disease is only detected in its advanced stages.
a) More than 1,200 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year; three women every day.
b) Approximately 800 Australian women will lose their battle with this disease this year; one woman every 11 hours
c) That early detection of ovarian cancer is critical. 70% of ovarian cancers are advanced at the time of diagnosis and are difficult to treat at this stage. There is no detection test for this disease. Pap smears do not detect it.
a) The work of the late Senator Jeannie Ferris, whose courageous and tenacious work to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, as well as cervical and other gynaecological cancers, was also a deeply personal cause.
b) After being diagnosed with the disease in October 2005, Senator Ferris was instrumental in launching a Parliamentary Inquiry into Gynaecological Cancers
c) This inquiry culminated in the 2006 Senate Committee Report: Breaking the silence: a national voice for gynaecological cancers
d) The findings of this report received unanimous support for increased awareness of and resources for gynaecological cancers across both major parties.
e) The then Health Minister, Mr Tony Abbott MP, and the Howard Government also agreed, as a result of the report, to provide federal government grant of $1 million for the establishment of a National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers in 2007
f) Although Senator Ferris succumbed to her illness in April 2007, her significant legacy was celebrated, and continues to be remembered, by her family, friends, colleagues, the medical community and others who are touched by ovarian, cervical and other gynaecological cancers
g) Today the Jeannie Ferris, Cancer Australia Churchill Fellowship in Gynaecological Cancers is an annual fellowship aimed at reducing the effect of gynaecological cancers on those who are touched by it, whether they be a health professional, a sufferer themselves, a family member or carer