The Cancer Council is urging people who have concerns about what is available to cancer patients in the area to attend a ‘Talking Circle’ at this Saturday’s Relay For Life event to be held from 4pm at Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina.

Diana Fisher, Regional Programs Co-ordinator, said: “We encourage people to come to the clubhouse after the carers’ and survivors’ afternoon tea and have an informal chat with others to share information and concerns about what is needed for cancer patients in the area.”

The cancer survivor and carers’ lap of honour follows the opening ceremony at 4pm and the afternoon tea is held after this first lap.

The Ballina Cancer Community Network members who gather information will be there to listen and notes are to be taken.

Actions by members of the community such as the Ballina Network group and the Regional Advocacy Network members can help to highlight service needs and prompt action, Ms Fisher said.

The Cancer Council trains advocates to meet with MPs, area health services and to take action and highlight issues related to cancer services that are needed.

“The Regional Advocacy Network was part of a coalition that gathered over 25,000 signatures to ensure that the radiotherapy unit was built on time at Lismore,” Ms Fisher said.

“Members also met with many MPs and health service executives and continue to be active in lobbying to keep the new Integrated Cancer Care Centre Radiotherapy Unit on track.

“I am discussing cancer patient and community needs with MPs and others in my role, which encompasses advocacy, at regular intervals and have had excellent support form the MPs in the region.

“I would like to hear any feedback regarding needs in the area.”

The Cancer Council has had success in lobbying for the IPTAAS distance to be lowered from 200km to 100km, around tobacco legislation, the radiotherapy unit, and in many other areas and continues to lobby the NSW Government for more and improved services for cancer patients and those who are assisting them.”

If you have any questions about the Talking Circle, please ring Anna Fitzalan on 6627 2305 or 0427 291 640.