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Tracey O’Brien: Behind every statistic is a person whose life has changed forever
Dec 6, 2023, 16:28

Tracey O’Brien: Behind every statistic is a person whose life has changed forever

Tracey O’Brien shared on LinkedIn:

“It’s easy to just focus on the numbers when talking about cancer, but behind every statistic is a person whose life has changed forever.

For Kate Thomas, her life changed completely at the age of 27 when she noticed a pin prick dot on her leg. Her gut instinct was that something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately her instincts were right and a visit to the GP led to a melanoma skin cancer diagnosis.

Now the mum of a beautiful 18-month-old, Kate is thankful to be cancer free. She joined Minister for Health Ryan Park, Local Member for Coogee Marjorie O’Neil MP and me this morning at the Randwick Health Precinct to share the message we’ve been hearing for years – most skin cancers can be prevented if we protect our skin from the sun’s harmful UV.

It’s a simple message, but something that is still not getting through to our community.

Over the last 10 years, close to 5,000 people have presented to a NSW Emergency Department with sunburn. Alarmingly, most are children and young people.

While shocking, the invisible damage we’re causing to our skin every time we head outdoors without sun protection is far more concerning. It’s not just when we’re at the beach, but when we’re walking to the park, playing sports or just hanging the washing. Every moment in the sun is causing damage.

Prevention is far better than cure which is why today the team at Cancer Institute NSW is proud to launch the third NSW Skin Cancer Prevention Strategy 2023 – 2030.

Developed in partnership with the community and 20 government and non-government agencies, the strategy aims to embed skin cancer prevention into everyday life: at home, work and in the community.

We’re proud of what we have achieved in NSW, but we know more needs to be done. I urge everyone, no matter how old you are, to take skin cancer seriously and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

A sincere thanks to everyone involved in developing the latest skin cancer prevention strategy and to Tobi Wilson and the team at South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) for hosting the strategy’s launch.”

To read the strategy click here.
Source: Tracey O’Brien/LinkedIn

Dr. Tracey O’Brien is the NSW Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Australia. Before her current role, Tracey was Director of the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, and Director of the Transplant & Cellular Therapy Program. Tracey has held numerous high-profile national and international leadership positions, including Advisory Chair, Cancer Australia; V/Chair (Africa, Asia and Australasia) International Centre for Bone Marrow Transplant Research and V/President of the Australian and New Zealand Children’s Oncology Group.

In recognition of her exceptional contributions, Tracey was profiled in 2023 as one of the world’s foremost women in paediatric cancer by the International Society of Paediatric Oncology. In 2019 Tracey was named in the Australian Financial Review’s prestigious Top 10 Women of Influence, winning the Innovation category.

In addition to her medical expertise, Tracey has a Master of Law (Health) and executive MBA and serves as a conjoint Professor in Clinical Medicine (UNSW) and Honorary Professor in Science and Engineering (Macquarie University). Dr. O’Brien remains committed to mentoring the next generation of clinician leaders and maintains an active clinical practice in cancer survivorship at Sydney Children’s Hospital.