Ovarian Cancer

Last night, my fellow ovarian cancer ambassadors the member for Higgins and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and I hosted our fifth annual Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month drinks for female politicians and media. I want to thank all my colleagues—thank you so much—in both chambers, for attending yet another highly successful event. 

I also want to thank the ABC's Sabra Lane for MC-ing so beautifully. And thanks to the ABC's Eliza Borello for organising the attendance of journalists for the last four years, and to the ABC's Jane Norman for taking over that role now. Reminder, Jane: you are now in charge! But particular thanks go to Ann-Maree Mulders, who shared her powerful and deeply moving story of living with ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal of female cancers. But early detection can save your life. So please, understand the common four symptoms: abdominal or pelvic pain; increased size of your abdomen or persistent bloating; needing to urinate often or urgently; and feeling full after eating a small amount.

I have been an ovarian cancer ambassador for six years, and in my discussions with women I find there is a common misperception that a Pap smear can detect ovarian cancer. It cannot. A Pap smear cannot detect ovarian cancer. I really want to bust this myth. I repeat: Pap smears do not detect ovarian cancer. Know; ask; act. Know the four symptoms.

Download this speech.

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