The West

Cancer patients face wait
Support: Jodi Austin and mum Lyn Madigan. Picture: Ian Munro/ The West Australian

Jodi Austin will always be grateful for her life-saving cancer treatment but she sees firsthand the huge workload of medical staff at every clinic appointment.

The pre-primary teacher from Karratha was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in May and has lived at the Cancer Council WA's Crawford Lodge in Nedlands for eight months.

She had chemotherapy at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and recently a bone marrow transplant while her husband Dean and mother Lyn take turns caring for her two children in Karratha.

Mrs Austin, 41, says for most appointments she waits at least an hour and though she cannot fault the treatment she notices the pressure on staff.

"If you're feeling unwell with chemotherapy, sitting around for an hour or more is not great," she said.

"The doctors and nurses are fantastic but they just don't stop and for some patients it can take weeks to get in to see a consultant, which is very stressful."

Cancer Council WA has enlisted 50,000 supporters and patients like Mrs Austin to make issues such as critical staff shortages election priorities.

Other key areas are better funding for health and medical research and action on health risks from asbestos.

The council will encourage people on its database to write or email the major parties' leaders to make key cancer issues a priority for the next government.

Letters will also be sent to all candidates for a response.

Council president Winthrop Professor Christobel Saunders said there would be strong community support for the priorities identified.

"With almost 11,000 West Australians diagnosed with cancer a year, this translates to many thousands more family members, friends and colleagues who are also impacted," she said.

"It's estimated there are also more than 75,000 people in WA living with cancer."

The West Australian

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