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 “Advocacy is people promoting rights for themselves and others”

People who have been diagnosed with cancer bring a unique perspective to health care processes as a result of their own personal experience. As anyone who has been touched by this disease knows, it can be a long and challenging journey. The time, effort and energy it demands cannot begin to be measured.

Advocates, specifically those who participate in cancer and consumer advocacy, come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. It is not only cancer patients and survivors but also carers, family members, friends, health care professionals, politicians and the community in general. Advocacy therefore means different things to different people and there are many ways to become an advocate.

As a result, every individual has their own approach to being an advocate. However, all approaches have the same underlying belief in promoting the rights of individuals and others and taking responsibility in order to make a difference. CanSpeak QLD views advocacy as arguing on behalf of, supporting, or recommending a particular issue, idea or person.

In general there are two forms of advocacy Systemic and Individual. Systemic Advocacy focuses on influencing and changing the system so that people with cancer as a whole benefit. Systemic Advocacy includes consumer representation on committees, working parties, advisory groups, and policy and law reform activities, development of media releases, publications and positions statements and participation in Consumer Advocacy Training. Individual Advocacy on the other hand focuses on the individual and looks to assist in resolving those issues directly impacting the individual.

It is also important to understand there is a wide range of diverse opportunities for individuals and organisations to advocate on behalf of those impacted cancer. Some of the ways in which CanSpeak QLD advocate are:

  • active participation as consumer representatives on cancer and health related committees;
  • attendance at industry forums and workshops;
  • writing to local councillors, state and federal ministers;
  • making submissions to consultative processes;
  • liaising with the media on issues of importance to our consumers;
  • guest speaking at conferences, support groups and other channels;
  • publishing our newsletter.

Why is advocacy important to those individuals impacted by cancer?

  • Advocacy can support and create positive change in the health care system;
  • Advocacy can change community attitudes and misconceptions;
  • Advocacy can assist people to gain equitable access to resources, services and financial support;
  • Advocacy can assist individuals to have control over their situation by providing support and information
  • Advocacy ensures all individuals have a voice and that it will be heard!