Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

As members are aware, February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and today is Teal Ribbon day. As part of the activities to raise awareness of this terrible disease, sometimes referred to as the ‘silent killer’, last week I held an Afternoon Teal at my office with women from my local Arabic-speaking-background communities. As well as partaking in some made-in-Brunswick Lebanese fare, we talked about the importance of being aware of ovarian cancer and its symptoms, particularly given those symptoms can be very vague and common to other illnesses. We also discussed the critical importance of early detection in helping to save lives and the fact that there is no easy diagnostic test. Women need to be vigilant about monitoring symptoms and seeking medical assistance if they are at all concerned. We highlighted the importance of women sharing this information with others in their families, friendship groups and broader communities.

I believe the women found it a very beneficial experience, and some made the following comments. Wafa said, ‘Now I will tell my friends how important it is to get medical tests’. Fay said, ‘It was a great meeting. It was fun, and at the same time I learnt a lot I can share with my community’. Zobeida said, ‘This reminds me to look after myself, go to see my doctor and be careful about my health. It is a wake-up call, and I will pass it on to my daughter’.

I thank all of the participants for attending this special Afternoon Teal, and in particular Lina Hassan from the Victorian Arabic Social Services Women’s Group for assisting me in organising the event and for her outstanding skills as a translator. I would also like to thank the El Telegraph newspapers for raising awareness amongst the Arabic-speaking communities.

Hansard, 2012