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Significant contribution to gynaecological cancer recognised

Cancer Australia CEO Helen Zorbas announced the recipients of the 2018 Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award, Professor Clare Scott and Duncan McPherson at a ceremony in Sydney.

“The impact of gynaecological cancer is significant, with 17 women diagnosed and five women losing their lives to gynaecological cancer each day in Australia,” Dr Zorbas said.

“I’m delighted to acknowledge these two outstanding Australians who have shown exceptional commitment to supporting improved outcomes for women with gynaecological cancer,” Dr Zorbas said.

Cancer Australia presented the award in the consumer category to Mr McPherson, who lost his wife to ovarian cancer in 2010, for his commitment and service to raising funds for gynaecological cancer research nurses, raising awareness of ovarian cancer and providing support.

“Duncan’s focus has been to ensure continued funding of clinical research nurses in recognition of their pivotal role in encouraging women into clinical trials, supporting them during the trials and follow up,” Dr Zorbas said.

“Harnessing his passion for equine pursuits he has raised more than $1 million dollars to fund gynaecological cancer clinical research nurses via a variety of endeavours.

He also established Team Teal, an initiative in which reinswomen wear teal driving pants in harness racing across Australia and New Zealand, to raise awareness and funds for gynaecological cancer research.

 “Using his personal experience Duncan also provides telephone counselling to the partners of women with ovarian cancer, regularly sharing his experience about the impact on families with ovarian cancer,” Dr Zorbas said.

Professor Scott, a medical oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals and clinician scientist at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute received the award for health professionals or researchers in gynaecological cancer.

“Clare is an internationally recognised leader in the development of PARP inhibitor therapy, considered to be one of the most exciting treatments in ovarian cancer in the last twenty years,” Dr Zorbas said.

Professor Scott is involved with consumer organisations, including Ovarian Cancer Australia and Rare Cancers Australia, and believes involving Australian patients and their families in medical research can bring critical insights and new approaches to improving the health of the community.

“Clare’s achievements in improving outcomes for women with gynaecological cancer reflect her passion and commitment as a medical oncologist, researcher and an advocate for consumer involvement in medical research for women with gynaecological cancer,” Dr Zorbas said.

Established in 2013, the Jeannie Ferris Cancer Australia Recognition Award is named in honour of the late Jeannie Ferris, Senator for South Australia, who was passionately committed to raising awareness of gynaecological cancer.

*Gynaecological cancer is an overarching term used to describe cancer of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva, as well as the fallopian tube and placenta (a pregnancy related cancer).