Labor Member for Mundingburra Coralee O'Rourke.
Labor Member for Mundingburra Coralee O'Rourke.

MP’s shock cancer diagnosis

TOWNSVILLE'S most senior State Government representative has revealed she will undergo surgery this week following a shock cancer diagnosis.

In an emotional interview Communities, Disability Services and Seniors Minister Coralee O'Rourke said she had been diagnosed with breast cancer last week.

The Mundingburra MP said she would be taking time away from her Parliamentary duties for treatment in Townsville.

 

Labor Member for Mundingburra Coralee O'Rourke.
Labor Member for Mundingburra Coralee O'Rourke.

 

"Over the next few weeks, I will take some time off to spend with my family and work with my medical team to undergo treatment and recover from surgery," she said.

"After that, I plan to face this challenge like most other Queensland women with breast cancer do - by continuing to get on with my work, which I love."

Ms O'Rourke said her doctors were confident they had caught the cancer early but she would know more after her surgery and the commencement of follow up treatment.

"(The doctors) will have more information once the pathology comes back next week," she said.

"The surgeon has indicated (treatment) will be over a period of six months.

"I'm going to play that by ear, provided all the treatment's going well and I'm feeling well, I'll just be doing work as per normal."

Townsville MP Coralee O'Rourke hopes her diagnosis would serve as a reminder to other women to be vigilant about their health. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Townsville MP Coralee O'Rourke hopes her diagnosis would serve as a reminder to other women to be vigilant about their health. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

Ms O'Rourke said she hoped her diagnosis would serve as a reminder to other women to be vigilant about their health.

"I want to be able to say, this wasn't something I was expecting, and it's not something that any woman in this position expects," she said.

"But now at all times being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, if at any point in time you had concerns about breast health then now is the time to take it seriously and get a screen done."

Ms O'Rourke said she had received strong support from her family, staff and government colleagues.

"The Premier and the Deputy Premier and everybody have been very supportive and I think that makes a huge difference, to have a good strong support network around you when things are really uncertain for you personally," she said.

"I think it just also helps to keep you focused on staying positive."

Ms O'Rourke will not be making any further media appearances in relation to her diagnosis but said she would keep the public informed as necessary.

"I needed to say what was happening and what it is I'll be doing forward moving forward but at this point in time let me do it and let me do it for myself," she said.

"I don't want to turn it into a big hoo-ha, but I just want to say this it what it is but from here on in I'd just ask for some personal privacy."



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