Outstanding Australians receive new cancer award

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Two outstanding Australians have received a new award to recognise their achievement in gynaecological cancers, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek announced today.

“I am pleased to announce that Professor Neville Hacker AM of Sydney and Simon Lee of Melbourne are the first recipients of the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award,” said Ms Plibersek.

“These awardees have made exceptional contributions to improving outcomes for women with gynaecological cancers,” said Ms Plibersek.

Simon Lee won the category of the Award open to individuals with a personal experience of gynaecological cancers.

Ovarian cancer claimed the lives of both Mr Lee’s mother and wife. Mr Lee became one of the first advocates working to raise the profile of the disease in Australia. He helped establish the leading national consumer organisation Ovarian Cancer Australia and was its Chair for 10 years.

Gynaecological oncologist Professor Neville Hacker won the category of the Award for health professionals and researchers who work in the area of gynaecological cancers. 

Professor Hacker established the Gynaecological Cancer Centre at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Sydney and has served as its director for 27 years. In addition, he has helped raise $3 million for gynaecological cancer research, maintained a strong commitment to teaching and worked extensively to address the psychological needs of Australian women impacted by gynaecological cancer.

“Cancer Australia is delighted to publicly recognise these individuals,” said Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas.

“They have made extraordinary efforts in changing the landscape of gynaecological cancer over many years, through advocacy, improving clinical practice, and supporting those affected by gynaecological cancer,” said Professor Zorbas.

The Award was named in honour of the late Jeannie Ferris, former Senator for South Australia who was committed to raising awareness about gynaecological cancer in Australia. Senator Ferris was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in October 2005 and passed away in April 2007.