Leaders moved by ovarian cancer survivor

PM Malcolm Turnbull has choked up while praising the courage of an ovarian cancer survivor. (AAP)

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have been touched by the story of an ovarian cancer survivor.

When Ann-Maree Mulders' doctor called to discuss her ovarian cancer diagnosis the only things she had in front of her were a big white envelope containing test results and a red pen.

So the mother of two madly started scribbling notes.

The ovarian cancer survivor shared her story at a Teal Ribbon breakfast in Parliament House on Wednesday.

The image of her sitting with that envelope was enough to move Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who attended the gathering with his wife Lucy.

"The courage in which you have battled this disease and the courage in which you told your story here is quite unforgettable," he said.

"Every single person here has been moved by it."

A visibly emotional Mr Turnbull said the image of Ms Mulders sitting with the envelope was "very powerful".

He also shared a personal tale about one of his advisers, a nurse, who did not recognise her mother's symptoms.

"By the time she was diagnosed she was, as is so often the case, in the very advanced stages of the disease," he said.

The fact her daughter didn't have an inkling still haunts her to this day.

Mr Turnbull stressed the need for more research and for people to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

"Greater awareness is a critically important step in the road to early detection," he said.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten also praised Ms Mulders' courage and that of other survivors.

"You are reluctant conscripts in a war which you never sought," he said.

"Your story does remind me how much I hate cancer."

Mr Shorten said it was important to take the energy from the room to increase funding for research.

Outside, on the lawns in front of Parliament House, 1480 pinwheels were placed representing the number of Australian women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year.

Source AAP

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