South Australians go to the polls on Saturday March 17th to elect a State Government. Nick Xenophon, well known in the Federal Senate, and now leader of state-based political party SA Best, has called on whoever forms government on Saturday to commit $5 million in funding to help South Australians with rare cancers access to testing that can help determine the best course of treatment. The genomic cancer medicine program if funded would be provided by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Currently, the program requires patients to travel to Sydney, which for many reasons can be difficult for people in treatment, and their families.
You can read more about the push to extend these important services to Adelaide here.
This issue highlights the sometimes stark divide between the services and opportunities available to patients, depending on where they live. For people outside of major cities, the challenges can be even greater, with statistics demonstrating poorer overall outcomes for people living in rural areas. This report from Garvan and published late in 2016, looks at some of the factors influencing these outcomes which include lower rates of early diagnosis (due to lack of access to healthcare professionals) and problems with treatment adherence (due to distance, time and cost).
CanDo can’t provide medical advice or treatment, but what we do hope to provide, is access to community, less social isolation and a tool to help direct all those offers of help. If you live in a city and your loved one lives in a regional or rural setting, perhaps you can offer accommodation, use of a car, or simply be a friendly face when your friend from out of town arrives in your city for treatment or an important appointment, and is feeling lonely and overwhelmed? The more comfortable patients feel, the more likely they will adhere to their treatment protocol, which will give them the best chance of a good outcome.
There are also good resources for people going through treatment, and available via organisations like the Cancer Council and others. And did you know that you may qualify for financial assistance for your travel / accommodation needs? So it’s definitely worth contacting your local cancer support organisations to find out what may be available to you. If you’re in NSW, take a look here. Don’t be shy – that’s what they do! But in case you’re not too sure about it or don’t have the time / energy, this sounds like a perfect task to allocate to a friend via the CanDo app!