NSW Liberal MP Matt Cross shares cancer diagnosis following blood donation

A NSW MP has shared how abnormal results flagged during a regular blood donation led him to an early diagnosis of bowel cancer.

In a speech made to parliament on Tuesday night, Matt Cross, 39, Liberal MP for Davidson on Sydney’s northern beaches, said he would be undergoing surgery to remove the cancer over the coming days.

“Recently I became one of over 150,000 Australians who are diagnosed with cancer in a typical year or one of the 300 Australians who was diagnosed with bowel cancer during an average week,” Mr Cross told the NSW lower house.

“Nothing about this is felt typical or average to me. (I’ve had) feelings of shock, fear and denial, but there’s also gratitude that I have been diagnosed early, and I hold on to that when I wake up every single morning.”

Mr Cross, who has a family history of bowel cancer, was alerted to low haemoglobin levels when he became unable to donate blood at Red Cross’ Lifeblood services, prompting him to go to his doctor.

While he originally asked his doctor to prescribe him iron supplements, he was emphatically told to have a colonoscopy.

“I want to be completely honest, my doctor did not just casually tell me to have a colonoscopy. They stoically convinced me to do it,” Mr Cross told the NSW lower house.

“Still stubborn, I thank my wife, Gessika, for encouraging me to make sure that I had a colonoscopy in a timely manner, and it was there that I discovered my cancer diagnosis.”

According to Cancer Australia, there were 15,367 new cases of bowel cancer diagnosed in 2023, which made up about 9.3 per cent of all new cancer diagnoses during this period.

Mr Cross said that while he would be taking leave immediately to dedicate his “full focus” to his recovery, he announced his goal to run a marathon to raise funds for cancer research, prevention and awareness following his recovery.

After Mr Cross’ speech, NSW Liberal leader Mark Speakman urged the importance of regular medical check-ups.

“Godspeed Matt Cross and wife Gess as you win the battle against a shock bowel cancer diagnosis,” Mr Speakman wrote on social media.

“Matt’s discovery through routine blood donation and GP follow up shows why we must pay attention to our health and see a doctor regularly.

“We look forward to having Matt back soon.”

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