Funding Fairness for Ovarian Cancer Research

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I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in February 2016. Surprisingly, my treatment was the same they've been giving women for 50 years: de-bulking surgery followed by brutal chemotherapy.

Quite typically my cancer relapsed before Christmas 2016, making me terminal. Why? There is no cure for relapsed ovarian cancer. I was horrified to learn this and think it's pretty outrageous. Our ovaries are the very essence of life and yet when it comes to cancer they are stuck with decades-old treatment and a shocking prognosis.

Ovarian cancer has a 46% five year survival rate. Compared to the 91% survival rate of breast cancer we are lagging way behind. For me this means that I'm not going to survive to share significant life milestones, like my daughter's graduation, her marriage, her first child. As a single mother, I find this cruel and terrifying.

I have come to know many single and married mums who are living with this fear as they deal with the realities of their ovarian cancer. And there's a common reaction - if I had breast cancer the chances of me surviving would be doubled. How unfair. Breast cancer receives four times as much funding as ovarian cancer, and corporate funding is almost endless.

Money pays for research. Research provides better outcomes. It's pretty simple. Ovarian cancer takes the lives of 1,000 Australian women every year but is one of the most under-funded cancers receiving four times LESS than breast cancer. I applaud the tremendous outcomes in the fight against breast cancer and believe that with similar commitment and resources we can achieve the same success for ovarian cancer.

That's why we need funding fairness - to give women with ovarian cancer a fighting chance to be here for our children and our grandchildren, to continue to contribute to society rather than be taken before our time just because society did not see ovaries as important as breasts.

Please sign and share my petition as I call on the government and donors to look below the waist when it comes to cancer funding and give researchers the money they need to come up with a screening test, clinical trials and better treatment options for ovarian cancer.

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