A WOMAN awaiting potentially life-saving cancer surgery has urged anyone who has ever been touched by the disease to join in the fight for improved hospital funding.
Jane Simpson, of Wallabadah, fears she is running out of time to have an operation to remove the tumours in her stomach and cervix detected back in July.
The 50-year-old has been told she could still have another two months to wait for surgery due to the lengthy waiting list at Sydney’s St George Hospital.
But rather than simply accepting the delay, the mother-of-one is circulating a petition in a bid to extract more money from the state government for cancer treatment services.
The “Lives At Risk” petition, which was devised by a cancer support group, is seeking enough signatures to force the Legislative Assembly to consider the request.
It comes after Ms Simpson’s surgeon, Professor David Morris, said last month that four of his cancer patients had seen their tumours progress to the inoperable stage while waiting for surgery.
“After reading that information from Professor Morris, it’s not looking good at all,” Ms Simpson, who has already beaten cancer once, said.
“I don’t feel very good about things at the moment.”
Ms Simpson is endeavouring to circulate the petition around local businesses in the area and it can also be downloaded from http://livesatrisk.com.au.
Cancer treatment services campaigner Jenny Barlow said she believed people in country areas often faced bigger hurdles on their road to recovery than their city counterparts.
The Boggabri local, who after years of fund-raising opened the Jenny Barlow Oncothermia Clinic in Sydney, said the sheer amount of travel involved could wear patients down.
“There is so much cost associated with them having to travel all the time for treatment that I don’t know how they keep doing it,” Mrs Barlow said.
“It’s definitely more stressful for people who have to travel for treatment. Having it closer to home is always the better way.” NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said peritonectomy surgery, which is what Ms Simpson has been told she requires, is only available in NSW at St George Hospital.
“The difficulty is not budget – it is about the capacity of St George Hospital to provide intensive post-operative care for peritonectomy patients, which can extend to many weeks,” Mrs Skinner said.
“To clear the backlog of overdue patients on the wait list, we will ‘spot purchase’ six additional peritonectomy surgeries for those in category one who are overdue for treatment.”
“We will continue working towards a long-term solution to this issue.”