CANCER Council NSW and The Northern Star have joined forces to improve cancer care and control across the Northern Rivers.
Now, we need your help.
Our Saving Life 2015 campaign urges the State Government to implement five achievable measures following the election in March next year.
They are: increasing the Aboriginal workforce in cancer services, tobacco retail reform, abolishing chemotherapy co-payments, co-ordinated cancer care and increased palliative care services.
Northern Rivers Cancer Council NSW (NRCCNSW) community programs co-ordinator Rowena Terone said the campaign presents the best opportunities for the government to help beat cancer.
Five ways forward:
- Increased Aboriginal workforce in cancer services so Aboriginal people can be cared for with greater cultural sensitivity.
- Tobacco retail reform to support people who are trying to quit, and encourage young people to live smoke free.
- No chemotherapy co-payments so all chemotherapy patients in a public hospital get it for free, like other Australian states.
- Co-ordinated cancer care so people with cancer, and their families, get the care they need in a logical, connected and timely manner.
- More palliative care services so every person dying from cancer has the best quality of life and if needed, a specialist palliative care team.
"We face a future where more people will be getting cancer and while we have achieved a lot in recent years, there is still more to be done," she said.
"Our community helped to develop this list of priorities for action and we know that community support is important in creating political change."
Action to tackle cancer is particularly important for Northern Rivers residents as regional Australians are still more likely to die of cancer than their city counterparts, despite some progress in narrowing the city-rural divide. About 128,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year, with that rising to almost 150,000 per year by 2020.
NRCCNSW's advocacy team leader Art Beavis called for community unity to power the Saving Life 2015 campaign.
"We want to see your stories and experiences about cancer, or the issues and how they've affected you," he said.