Cancer in the Wimmera: A discussion with Peter Mac’s Dr David Speakman

Published on 18 February 2021

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Horsham Rural City Council will host a Cancer and the Wimmera online Q & A Session with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s Chief Medical Officer Dr David Speakman on Wednesday night, February 24.

Some 139 people are diagnosed with cancer in Horsham Rural City and 53 locals lose their lives to the disease, each year.

During the height of the pandemic last year, patient referrals to Peter Mac dropped by as much as 40 per cent for some cancers, as people statewide delayed seeing their GP or getting tested.

Mayor Robyn Gulline will host the webinar from 7pm and Wimmera Cancer Centre manager Carmel O’Kane will also be a panelist.

The live presentation will be available via Zoom video conferencing. Attendees do not need to register and a recording will be made available after the event.

“We are extremely fortunate to have access to someone of Dr Speakman’s calibre and I encourage everyone to consider logging in to the information session,” Cr Gulline said.

“Anyone can join the Zoom webinar. It’s easy to do, participants won’t have their cameras on but they can get involved through the text chat function,” she said. 

Cr Gulline said people could submit questions for Dr Speakman before Wednesday night via email, the HRCC Facebook page or left at Council’s Customer Service Desk.

“We will also see if we can answer some questions as they come in during the webinar,” she said.

Dr Speakman has over 20 year’s sub-specialist experience in both breast and melanoma fields and was intimately involved in the conception, design and building of Peter Mac’s new Melbourne facilities. 

“We hope this outreach to the community, and increased focus on cancer at this time, will help us find cancer diagnoses that may have been overlooked because of the pandemic,” Dr Speakman said.

“If you have concerns about your health, or put off getting a test or seeing your doctor over the past year, we urge you to see your GP as soon as possible because delays make cancer harder to treat.”

Peter Mac’s melanoma and skin service is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Of the new cancer cases in Horsham Rural City each year, on average 11 people are diagnosed with lung cancer, 14 with melanoma, 17 with bowel cancer, 17 with breast cancer and 16 with prostate cancer.

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