Commission Supports Parish Campaign on Mesothelioma Treatment

Media Release

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is supporting efforts by Victoria Point parishioners to enable mesothelioma sufferers to obtain subsidised chemotherapy treatment for their disease.

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

Victoria Point parishioners asked the Commission to promote a national campaign for uniform subsidisation of the “gold standard” treatment for mesothelioma because many sufferers cannot afford the cost of this treatment which can be as much as $25000.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that some Australian sufferers obtain full subsidisation of the cost of treatment while others receive no support.

“The treatment is subsidised in some States, but not in others,” Mr Arndt said.

“Subsidisation can also depend on whether you can show that you contracted the terminal disease through your work or not,” he said.

“An investigation into the situation has indicated that up to half of all mesothelioma sufferers miss out on subsidisation of the best treatment for the disease,” he said.

“The treatment clearly offers patients a longer life with much better quality of life and everyone who has this dreadful disease should be able to access the treatment without taking out a substantial loan,” he said.

“We’ve joined with Victoria Point parishioners affected by this problem in campaigning for urgent action by our Federal politicians to make this treatment equally available at the subsidised cost,” he said.

The Commission has prepared an information sheet with a sample letter for people to use as a guide in writing to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Health and Aging, the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Health. It has been sent to all parishes.

“We are also encouraging people to contact their local Member of Parliament, Senators and, indeed, all candidates in their Federal electorate.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Appeal for Support for Mesothelioma Sufferers

Trevor Stagg Fact File

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