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Jenny Morrison urges women to get tested for cancer during coronavirus pandemic

Jenny Morrison has made a rare public statement to urge women around the country to get checked for cancer as testing rates plummet due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The prime minister’s wife, who normally avoids the limelight, released a heartfelt video amid fears thousands of cancers and other medical conditions are going undetected.

Sitting in Kirribilli House alongside family dog Buddy, former nurse Mrs Morrison said: ‘Women are putting off their health checks, Pap tests, mole checks, mammograms and so much more.

Jenny Morrison (pictured with the prime minister and their two daughters Abbey, right, and Lily) has made a rare public appearance to urge women around the country to get checked for cancer as testing rates plummet due to coronavirus

Jenny Morrison (pictured with the prime minister and their two daughters Abbey, right, and Lily) has made a rare public appearance to urge women around the country to get checked for cancer as testing rates plummet due to coronavirus

Jenny Morrison is pictured with her husband Scott. The pair married in 1990

Mrs Morrison is urging women around the country to get tested for cancer and other medical conditions

Jenny Morrison (right and left with her husband Scott), who normally avoids the limelight, has released a heartfelt video amid fears thousands of cancer cases and other medical conditions are going undetected

‘This week is Women’s Health Week, and it’s a chance for women across Australia to remind themselves about getting up-to-date with all of those tests and their health.

‘So call the doctor. Book that appointment. Don’t let it be the year where we say “I’ll put that off”. Because your health is so important to you and those around you.’

Mrs Morrison, 52, said she booked her mammogram straight after filming the video.  

The mother-of-two said that 2020 ‘has been such a crazy year’ involving ‘disruption, loss and sadness’ and that she was thinking of family and friends in Melbourne who are ‘doing it particularly tough’.

‘During this time we’ve all been trying to do the right thing,’ she said. 

‘We’re wearing our masks, we’re washing our hands and maintaining our distance to keep ourselves and others healthy.

‘But there’s some things that we might have put off that are really important as women. And that’s something we all need to pay attention to.’  

Coronavirus lockdowns have seen testing rates for cancer and other conditions dramatically decrease.

Mrs Morrison (pictured with her daughters) said she booked her mammogram straight after filming the video. 'So call the doctor. Book that appointment. Because your health is so important to you and those around you,' she said

Mrs Morrison (pictured with her daughters) said she booked her mammogram straight after filming the video. ‘So call the doctor. Book that appointment. Because your health is so important to you and those around you,’ she said

Sitting in Kirribilli House alongside her dog Buddy, Mrs Morrison (pictured with her daughters) said: 'Women are putting off their health checks, Pap tests, mole checks, mammograms and so much more'

Sitting in Kirribilli House alongside her dog Buddy, Mrs Morrison (pictured with her daughters) said: ‘Women are putting off their health checks, Pap tests, mole checks, mammograms and so much more’

In mid-March there was a 40 per cent drop in people attending pathology tests as 60,000 patients missed checks ordered by the GPs.

In April cervical cancer testing rates fell 67 per cent compared to the weekly average before lockdown in February.

Diabetes screening rates dropped by 54 per cent and tissue pathology tests dropped by 60 per cent.

In Victoria’s strict stage-four lockdown getting a medical test is a valid reason for leaving home but cervical cancer testing was still down 38 per cent in August. 

Mrs Morrison released the video as part of Women’s Health Week, an initiative set up by charity Jean Hailes for Women’s Health.  

CEO Janet Michelmore AO told Daily Mail Australia that the lower testing rates are a real concern.

‘In Australia we are lucky to have such great screening processes – but there is a concern there will be many undiagnosed cancer cases due to the pandemic,’ she said.

‘Many women have had to put off health checks. They may be be preoccupied with work, homeschooling, or looking after their families at such a difficult time.

‘Families are under pressure and it’s very easy to get caught up – but keeping well can help handle that pressure.’

In a message to mothers and daughters around Australia she added: ‘Sometimes women are not good at putting themselves first but now is the time.

‘It’s the start of spring and it’s time to make time for yourself and have those check-ups.’

The CEO said Mrs Morrison’s presentation skills are ‘amazing’ and her message is ‘really heartfelt’. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pictured with his two daughters Abbey and Lily in the garden of Kirribili House in Sydney

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pictured with his two daughters Abbey and Lily in the garden of Kirribili House in Sydney

Mrs Morrison gave a glimpse inside her home when she recorded the video while sitting on the sofa with her dog Buddy

Mrs Morrison gave a glimpse inside her home when she recorded the video while sitting on the sofa with her dog Buddy

A mother’s heartfelt plea: Jenny Morrison’s video

Mrs Morrison released the video as part of Women’s Health Week, an initiative set up by charity Jean Hailes for Women’s Health. This is what she said: 

2020 has been such a crazy year. It’s been a real blur. There’s been so much disruption, loss and sadness. And we think of our friends and family in Melbourne and they’re still doing it particularly tough.

During this time we’ve all been trying to do the right thing. We’re wearing our masks, we’re washing our hands and maintaining our distance to keep ourselves and others healthy.

But there’s some things that we might have put off that are really important as women. And that’s something we all need to pay attention to. The evidence is that women are putting off their health checks, Pap tests, mole checks, mammograms and so much more.

Pathology centres are reporting that thousands and thousands of Australian women have put off their pap smear tests. Even with telehealth, GPs are reporting that female face-to-face visits are down as well.

This week is Women’s Health Week, and it’s a chance for women across Australia to remind themselves about getting up-to-date with all of those tests and their health.

So call the doctor. Book that appointment. Don’t let it be the year where we say “I’ll put that off”. Because your health is so important to you and those around you.

So make the call. I booked my mammogram this morning. Filming this video reminded me that I needed to do that.

If you want to know more about Women’s Health Week, visit womenshealthweek.com.au

Go on, go and book that appointment now. It’s really important. 

About 135,000 Australians are diagnosed with cancer each year, including about 60,000 women. 

Mrs Morrison previously spoke about her health in 2019 when she discussed her battle with endometriosis, a disease where tissue grows on the outside of the uterus.

She and Mr Morrison tried IVF for about 10 years before she had an operation to treat the disease.

Shortly afterwards, she was able to conceive naturally aged 39 and had two daughters, Abbey and Lily.

 

HOW JENNY MORRISON IS AUSTRALIA’S STYLE QUEEN

By Alice Murphy, for Daily Mail Australia 

The Prime Minister’s wife is a woman who knows who she is, sartorially speaking.

Practical yet playful when the occasion arises, Jenny Morrison has quietly cemented herself as Australia’s most unlikely fashion influencer by keeping one eye on trends and the other on down-to-earth sustainability – a skill easier said than done for a woman appearing on the arm of a world leader.

The former nurse, who doesn’t have a stylist and likes to do her own shopping, is known for her thrifty approach to dressing and a penchant for promoting homegrown labels whenever possible.

Ms Morrison held her own among a sea of dazzling dignitaries in a $1,000 jumpsuit from Sydney designer Carla Zampatti while accompanying her husband on his state visit to Washington DC in September 2019.

Mrs Morrison stepped out in the United States wearing a stunning designer outfit she chose herself. Mrs Morrison wowed in a black jumpsuit by Australian designer and fashion icon Carla Zampatti, worth $1,000. She paired the Everlasting Love number with an open toe patent heel

Mrs Morrison stepped out in the United States wearing a stunning designer outfit she chose herself. Mrs Morrison wowed in a black jumpsuit by Australian designer and fashion icon Carla Zampatti, worth $1,000. She paired the Everlasting Love number with an open toe patent heel

The mother-of-two made a similarly striking statement by wearing a floral, balloon-sleeved Ginger & Smart midi-dress to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in December 2019

The mother-of-two made a similarly striking statement by wearing a floral, balloon-sleeved Ginger & Smart midi-dress to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in December 2019

The mother-of-two made a similarly striking statement by wearing a floral, balloon-sleeved Ginger & Smart midi-dress to the spring races – then re-wearing it to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in December 2019.

That recycling is indicative of Ms Morrison’s natural and approachable personal style, which is starting to translate to off-the-rack sales reminiscent of the early days of the Kate Middleton effect.

An emerald green Ginger & Smart jumpsuit she wore to the Canberra press gallery’s Midwinter Ball in September 2019 sold out almost instantly.

Ms Morrison’s looks have earned her plaudits including a ‘wonderful Australian ambassador’ and even ‘the first lady of fashion’.  

Mrs Morrison looked radiant in an emerald green jumpsuit at the Midwinter Ball on Wednesday night in Canberra. Mrs Morrison chose the Ginger & Smart's Sonorous outfit, which retails for $650

Mrs Morrison looked radiant in an emerald green jumpsuit at the Midwinter Ball on Wednesday night in Canberra. Mrs Morrison chose the Ginger & Smart’s Sonorous outfit, which retails for $650

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