The Cancer Council has thrown down a challenge for the upcoming candidates for Dubbo in the NSW election.
Advocates for three key Cancer Council concerns gave emotional speeches to the candidates at a recent forum, urging them to take action if elected. The Cancer Council wants: stricter laws around smoking in clubs and pubs, to restrict junk food advertising and more funding for public lymphoedema services.
The candidates heard about the personal experiences of Glenn Farr, Carolyn Simmonds and Susan Rootes, who gave emotional speeches to the crowded room, before the candidates were asked to provide their responses.
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The four candidates who attended - Green's candidate Rod Pryor was absent - gave their support to the Saving Life 2019 campaign, but no concrete promises were made.
All hands were raised when the crowd was asked who thought more lymphoedema services were needed in the region. Lymphoedema involves swelling of the limbs when fluid can’t flow through the lymph vessels and nodes properly.
There is currently one part-time professional in the Western NSW Local Health District who deals with lypmpoedema.
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Lara Quealy said she knew first hand about the need for appropriate cancer services in Dubbo.
"My father had to travel to Orange and have extensive treatment in Orange. I had a big impact on our family. We were on the land, we were in drought and we had to pick up the pieces. I was financially costing," she said.
Independent Mathew Dickerson also said more lymphoedema specialists were needed. Only eight of the 35 public hospitals in Sydney had lymphoedema services, he said.
Nationals candidate Dugald Saunders said he had been discussing the issues with MPs since September.
Mr Saunders said lymphoedema was little-known but the Western Cancer Centre needed to be staffed to ensure community expectations were being met.
Country Labor candidate Stephen Lawrence has also been discussing the issues with his party. Mr Lawrence said Labor would be releasing an official response to the Cancer Council's concerns, however he strongly supported an expansion of the lymphoedema services.