Nearly 500 postcards have been delivered to Albury MP Greg Aplin's office in support of a Cancer Council NSW election campaign.
Included in the policy paper Saving Life 2019: NSW Election Priorities is a call to increase publicly-funded services for lymphoedema, a condition in the spotlight during March.
Often caused by cancer treatments, lymphoedema involves swelling of limbs due to a build-up of fluid and cannot be cured, but can be reduced.
The ALA is calling for lymphoedema therapy to be allocated its own Medicare Benefits Schedule number, as it is a lifelong condition that requires continual management.
People can currently claim five visits under the chronic disease management plan, and the ALA argues this must be increased.
Cancer Council NSW western community programs co-ordinator Mel Nixon said it was important people be able to access the right services early.
“If untreated, the swelling is likely to worsen and cause considerable physical and psychological distress," she said.
“Government funding is urgently needed to increase the number of public services for people with lymphoedema so they can access the treatment they need.”
Albury Wodonga Health offers lymphoedema services including a fully-funded physiotherapist.
The Cancer Council election paper notes that "government initiatives have included online training modules to raise awareness among generalist health staff and specialist lymphoedema training for allied health clinicians".
"However, it is unclear whether these investments have resulted in generalist staff participating in the prevention and early identification of lymphoedema, or how many extra therapists are providing specialist lymphoedema care".
Border Relay For Life chairman Peter Whitmarsh said many of the Saving Life postcards had been filled out at the 2018 relay.
"It's an issue close to so many people," he said.
The policy paper also calls on the NSW government to:
- Strengthen the Smoke-free Environment Act 2000 to ensure that people working or socialising in a bar or club in NSW are protected from second-hand smoke
- Ban tobacco vending machines and introduce an annual licence fee to encourage retailers to stop selling
- Remove junk food advertising from state-owned property to reduce children’s exposure