Standing up for Canberra

The Chronicle: Ovarian Cancer - a not so silent killer

If you’re passing by Old Parliament House after dark in February, you’ll notice the wedding cake has turned a distinct shade of green. The colour is in fact teal, and the façade has been lit up in honour of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. 

Since being appointed ACT Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer, I’ve been overwhelmed by the commitment and tenacity of the families and friends who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease, yet put the time and energy into raising funds and awareness despite their grief. 

Last year, I launched the Capital Cookbook II, which showcases Canberra’s best restaurants, chefs, produce and scenery. The first Capital Cookbook was produced by the talented and much loved Canberra foodie, retailer and publisher Zorana Grbic in 2004. Tragically, Zorana lost her life to ovarian cancer in 2009 at 50. The sequel to her first book was authored and published by her son, 27 year-old Stefan Posthuma-Grbic, as a tribute to his mum. Restaurants featured in the book generously donated more than $10,000 and $2 from the sale of each book goes to ovarian cancer research.

It can be difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the symptoms are experienced by many women from time to time. But we do know that ovarian cancer is NOT a silent disease. Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer frequently report four types of symptoms:

  1. Abdominal or pelvic pain
  2. Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
  3. Needing to urinate often or urgently
  4. Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly


Knowing the symptoms and seeing your doctor when they arise can lead to early diagnosis and ultimately saves lives. So this February, I encourage you to become aware of the four symptoms, and to look out for them in your friends and families. And don’t forget to teal up with a ribbon on 26 February.

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