Queensland’s Communities, Disabilities and Seniors Minister Coralee O’Rourke has revealed she will undergo surgery following a breast cancer diagnosis.
“Every week another 343 women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer. Last week, I learned I am one of them,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ms O’Rourke learned of her diagnosis before a vote was taken on historic reforms to decriminalise abortion in Queensland, and delayed taking leave to ensure she would be able to vote on the legislation.
The Mundingburra MP will now step down from her parliamentary duties for about three weeks for treatment in Townsville.
“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,” she said.
Ms O’Rourke said her diagnosis, made during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, was a timely reminder to all Queensland women to have regular health scans.
She thanked her family and parliamentary colleagues for their support following her diagnosis last week.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Ms O’Rourke had the party’s full support.
“I’ll be appointing an acting minister to fill in for Coralee while she is on leave and I’ll be making that decision over the next day or so,” the premier said.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mander said they all wished Ms O’Rourke a speedy recovery, and would grant a pair for any votes taken while she was away, with parliament due to sit again next week.