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Find out the latest news at Cancer Council Australia:
- Uncovering why some patients have poorer lung cancer outcomes
- Supporting World Cancer Day
- New physical activity and diet program for cancer survivors
- High Court ruling protects Australians from gene monopolies
- Cancer Council congratulates ‘women of influence’
- Film goers told they don’t have to face cancer alone
- Spotlight on children’s cancer
- National Cancer Expert Reference Group - Consumer advocate
- Scholarships available for Oceania Tobacco Control Conference
- Health practitioners needed for research
A researcher from Monash University who aims to uncover why there are differences in lung cancer outcomes for Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) has been awarded Cancer Council funding through a national priority research scheme.
The grant, awarded through the Priority Driven Research Scheme administered by the Government agency Cancer Australia, will be utilised by Professor Danielle Mazza to compare the treatment pathways of CALD and Anglo-Australian patients.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide and in Australia kills more people than breast, prostate and ovarian cancer combined – it is responsible for almost one in five cancer deaths in the country.
Professor Mazza said that traditionally some groups had poorer outcomes and the research aimed to shed light on reasons for this.
“Culturally and linguistically diverse patients are especially vulnerable to higher mortality rates compared to their Anglo-Australian counterparts. At the moment we don’t know why this is – no Australian studies have examined the potential barriers for CALD patients undergoing lung cancer treatment.
“We hope to fill in the gaps in our knowledge by comparing how long it takes a patient from a CALD background to receive treatment after symptoms first develop compared to anglo-patients, by tracking differences in their treatment pathways.”
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said that lung cancer was under-researched in Australia.
“Lung cancer attracts less research funding, despite the high proportion of cancer deaths it causes. This is the first study of its kind in Australia and will assist with future planning by helping us identify inequities in the health system that can be improved for CALD communities.”
The grant to Professor Mazza is for $430,000 over three years.
Details on how to apply for the 2016 round of the Priority Driven Research Scheme are now available via Cancer Australia here.
Professor Danielle Mazza
February 4 2016 is World Cancer Day.
This year’s international theme is ‘We Can. I Can.’ and focuses on the many things that individuals and groups can do to reduce the burden of cancer across the globe.
This World Cancer Day, Cancer Council Australia is highlighting support for cancer patients and survivors.
It is expected that 130,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer this year and one in two Australians will be diagnosed during their lifetime. Due to improvements in early detection, treatment and care, around 65 percent of cancer patients live beyond their diagnosis – but their story doesn’t end there.
This World Cancer Day, Australians with cancer are being encouraged to get informed about how Cancer Council can support them.
We are also putting the call out for more Australians to get involved in our peer support programs and help those who are going through a similar cancer experience:
- 'I Can' – Get Support - Cancer Council 13 11 20 is a free and confidential telephone number where anyone impacted by cancer can speak to specially trained cancer professionals who provide support and cancer information. Pick up the phone to talk to our team and find out about support services in your local area.
- 'We Can' – Support others who have had a similar cancer experience - Cancer Connect is our national peer support program where trained cancer survivors are matched with Australians who have a similar cancer experience in terms of cancer type, treatment, age and family circumstances. Cancer Council is calling for more volunteers for this service - to volunteer or join the program, call our team on 13 11 20.
For more information on local events, how you can support World Cancer Day on social media and the event itself, head to www.worldcancerday.org
Healthy habits can reduce the chance of cancer returning for those who have already overcome the disease.
Cancer Council has launched a free program and invites residents from New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, who have completed treatment (with curative intent) for any type of cancer at any time, to join if they want to get active, eat better and feel better.
The program is easy to follow and will equip participants with their own health coach, who will call over a six month period to set and help reach physical activity and healthy eating goals.
Professor Michael Jefford, from the Australian Cancer Survivorship Centre, sees a need for programs like this to help people stay cancer free.
“For those who have survived cancer, adopting healthy habits is really important,” Professor Jefford said. “These habits can help reduce the risk of cancer coming back, and also prevent development of other health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes.
“Getting back to a healthy lifestyle after cancer is one of the most important things you can do for your health,” he said.
For more information on participating in the Healthy Living after Cancer program call 13 11 20.
The High Court’s unanimous decision today (7/10) that isolating the BRCA1 gene mutation was not a 'patentable invention' should help to ensure that Australian healthcare consumers are protected from commercial gene monopolies.
Director of Public Policy at Cancer Council Australia, Paul Grogan, said the court’s ruling was a great result for the Australian public, and also for healthcare providers and biomedical researchers.
"We need clarity in patent law in Australia – and hopefully the unanimity of today’s High Court ruling provides that," Mr Grogan said. "Although the BRCA patents are about to expire, more cases like this could arise, so it is critical that the law is applied in the same consistent manner – to protect the rights of healthcare consumers, public laboratories and independent researchers.
"The emphatic nature of the ruling should make it clear that genetic materials, whether in their pure form or isolated, and the tests to identify them, should never be subject to commercial monopolisation."
Mr Grogan said the outcome was a great credit to Yvonne D’Arcy, an individual who took on a multinational biotechnology firm in the interests of healthcare consumers everywhere.
"It should also be noted that the Australian High Court’s decision was consistent with the decision of the US Supreme Court. If the court had upheld the validity of the BRCA1 patent, Australia would have been out of step with the US – straight after signing the Trans-Pacific trade deal with the US and insisting that Australians are not disadvantaged by intellectual property arrangements that could compromise access to pharmaceuticals and medical technology.
"Hopefully, governments in all countries will agree that the patent system is designed to reward invention – not processes to find materials that already exist in our biology."
Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Board, the Hon Nicola Roxon, and Chair of Cancer Council’s National Screening and Immunisation Committee, Professor Karen Canfell, have both been recognised in this year’s list of 100 Women of Influence.
The list, compiled by The Australian Financial Review and Westpac, celebrates outstanding vision, leadership, innovation and action from women across the country in a diverse range of sectors.
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, congratulated Ms Roxon, who joined Cancer Council’s Board earlier this year. "Ms Roxon was honoured in the category of 'Global influence', reflecting her pioneering work in tobacco control and ongoing association with Union for International Cancer Control."
Prof Aranda said it was also gratifying to see recognition of the groundbreaking work of Prof Canfell, who heads the research division at Cancer Council NSW. "Prof Canfell is one of Australia’s leading cancer epidemiologists. Her expertise, particularly in the areas of cervical cancer and the HPV vaccine, see her in demand across many countries.
"Both Ms Roxon and Prof Canfell are shining examples of women who have made significant contributions on the national and international stage and we privileged to have such talented and dedicated people contributing to the field of cancer control."
Prof Aranda also paid tribute to other high achieving women in cancer recognised in the 100 Women of Influence:
- Prof Maria Kavallaris - Head of the Tumour Biology and Targeting Program / Co-director, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at the Children's Cancer Institute Australia / UNSW. Awarded for innovation.
- Dr Ranjana Srivastava - Oncologist at Monash Health, award-winning author and Guardian columnist. Awarded for global influence.
"These women have all made remarkable contributions to cancer control in Australia and internationally," Prof Aranda said.
"We are fortunate to have such a breadth of expertise in Australia and their dedication to building our capacity in cancer research, prevention and treatment."
Film goers will be offered information and support from Cancer Council under a unique partnership with director Paul Cox on his new feature film Force of Destiny.
The film is based on Paul’s experience of being diagnosed with liver cancer, and undergoing a lifesaving liver transplant. The love story, starring David Wenham, Shahana Goswami and Jacqueline McKenzie, premiered at the 64th Melbourne International Film Festival in July.
Force of Destiny will be seen across the country in a series of Cancer Council supported screenings beginning in September.
Cancer Council has developed a souvenir cinema programme for the screenings, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the film as well as cancer information and support services available to all those affected by cancer.
"We are extremely grateful for the support of the Cancer Council," Paul said. "Cancer affects almost every family in Australia in one way or another.
"We hope that our film creates a larger awareness of the need to care for and support each other, and to remain hopeful. This was very important to me during my illness."
Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said support services were there for anyone diagnosed with cancer, as well as their family, friends and colleagues.
"A cancer diagnosis can be devastating for an individual, and affects many people surrounding them. These realities are brought to life on film in Force of Destiny.
"Everybody’s cancer journey is different – but we all need information and support along the way. Our experienced 13 11 20 cancer support team are waiting to take calls from anyone affected by cancer – whether it’s a patient, a survivor, their family, friends, school or workplace - to make sure they have all the information and support they need."
Cancer Council supported screenings of Force of Destiny are scheduled for:
- 4pm, Saturday 5 September, Palace Verona, Sydney
- 7pm, Thursday 10 September, Cinema Nova, Melbourne
- 6:30pm, Friday 11 September, Palace Cento, Brisbane
- 4pm, Sunday 13 September, Palace Electric, Canberra
- 4pm, Sunday 13 September, Village Cinemas, Launceston
- 6:30pm, Monday 14 September, Village Cinemas, Hobart
- 6:30pm, Wednesday 16 September, Deckchair Cinema, Darwin
- 4pm, Saturday 19 September, Palace Nova East End, Adelaide
- 6:30pm, Monday 21 September, Cinema Paradiso, Perth
- 7:00pm, Sunday 27 September, Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs
For more information on the film visit www.forceofdestiny.com.au.
September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time when cancer organisations around the world put the spotlight on children’s cancer and the need to improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.
Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said that with 650 children aged 0-14 expected to be diagnosed with cancer in Australia this year, Cancer Councils around the country were actively involved in research aimed at improving childhood cancer treatment and support.
"Research is a vital part of the important work of Cancer Councils and this includes a number of projects related to children’s cancers," Professor Aranda said.
"One example is the work of Professor Murray Norris and his team from the University of New South Wales, funded by Cancer Council NSW. The team have already improved treatment for children with leukaemia who were likely to relapse, and now they are working to prevent drug resistance, find new therapies and understand the causes of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)."
Professor Aranda said a critical aspect of childhood cancer research was being able to track trends over time and clinical information. Cancer Council Queensland independently manages and funds the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry, recording the clinical and treatment information on all children diagnosed with cancer in Australia.
"Over the last year, data from the register has shown improvements in survival rates for acute myeloid leukaemia and positive trends for long-term childhood cancer survivors. Five-year survival for childhood cancers increased from 76 per cent in 1992-2001 to 82 per cent during 2002-2011.
"However, there is still plenty of work to be done, with an estimated 85 Australian children aged 0 - 14 dying of cancer last year, and many more feeling the effects of the disease and their treatment for years to come."
Professor Aranda said a critical aspect of Cancer Council’s work in children’s cancers was to provide information and support to children, childhood cancer survivors and their families.
Cancer Council recently produced a new national booklet, Cancer in the School Community – a resource for teachers, students and families impacted by cancer in the school environment. Other Cancer Council resources include Talking to kids about cancer, which aims to support families communicate with children about their cancer, or a family member or friend who has cancer, and Life during and after childhood cancer, which explores a range of aspects from diet and fatigue to school issues.
"As well as our range of cancer publications, we provide confidential phone information and support via Cancer Council 13 11 20 to anyone impacted by cancer,” Professor Aranda said.
"By calling 13 11 20 families can access a range of support services provided by Cancer Councils which aim to help relieve some of the stress on families – that can include things like financial support, practical assistance, transport and accommodation services, counselling services and support group and networks."1
"We also encourage those who have experienced childhood cancers to share their story - such as Nicole Quinn, who was diagnosed with leukaemia at age 13 and Amy Bond who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at age 6."
To assist GPs and health professionals, Cancer Council has produced a ‘red flags’ guide to alert health professionals to the warning signs of cancer in children.
Those looking for more information on childhood cancers can also check out the government agency, Cancer Australia’s new Children’s Cancers website.
The National Cancer Expert Reference Group (NCERG) is seeking expressions of interest for a second consumer advocate.
NCERG is a high-level, expert national cancer forum that is jointly chaired by the Commonwealth Government and Victoria with representation from all jurisdictions, Cancer Australia, Cancer Council Australia, the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and consumer input. NCERG has developed a National Cancer work plan to improve cancer care and outcomes for all Australians.
Expressions of interest are welcomed from individuals in any state or territory who are capable of representing the viewpoints and concerns of cancer consumers, consistent with the National Framework for Consumer Involvement in Cancer Control.
NCERG generally holds two face-to-face meetings per year, one in Canberra and one in Melbourne; and two teleconferences. Depending on current employment arrangements, consumer advocates may be entitled to sitting fees for meetings (currently $384 per day). Travel and accommodation costs associated with attending meetings will also be paid.
If you are interested, please provide an expression of interest (no more than two pages) outlining your skills and experience for this position to the NCERG Secretariat by 30 September 2015 by email to NCERGSecretariat@health.gov.au or post to:
NCERG Secretariat, MDP 702
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
Canberra ACT 2601
The National Framework for Consumer Involvement in Cancer Control is available on Cancer Australia’s website or from the NCERG Secretariat.
All information provided in response to this request will be managed in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and Australian Privacy Principles.
This year’s Oceania Tobacco Control Conference, hosted by Cancer Council WA, will take place in Perth from 20 – 22 October.
A range of bursaries and scholarships is now available to help fund the attendance of those working in tobacco control in the region, who would otherwise be unable to attend.
The event, held over three days, attracts health experts and researchers in the field of smoking and tobacco control across Oceania, and provides the opportunity to meet and explore current issues as well as ideas for the future.
In addition to the primary theme of achievements and aspirations within the tobacco control community, the conference will address areas including, but not limited to:
- People - those with mental health issues, pregnant women, Indigenous peoples, youth, prisoners and homeless people.
- Policy - tobacco control advocacy, legislation, regulation, plain packaging, smoke-free areas, second-hand smoke and smoke-drift.
- Practice - brief intervention, public education/resources, normalisation/denormalisation, Quitlines, cessation methods, GP and health professional practices.
- Products - plain packaging, graphic warnings, brand variants, nicotine addiction, NRT products, harms from tobacco/nicotine, multiple drug use and chop-chop.
- Producer - industry promotion and public relations.
- Price - tobacco taxes and excise, price discounting and duty free cigarettes.
- Promotion - social marketing, mass media, social media and tobacco retailers.
For details on bursaries and scholarships, visit the conference website.
Australian health professionals are being asked help contribute to a survey as a part of research that aims to help improve communication with Indigenous cancer patients.
In Australia there is a wide disparity for survival outcomes for Indigenous people with cancer, especially in the first two years after diagnosis. Communication between health professionals and their patients has been identified as a contributing factor.
The research, being conducted by the Menzies School of Health, will seek to determine the needs of health professionals when communicating with Indigenous cancer patients, as well as document the types of strategies, skills and resources which health professionals have found aid effective communication with Indigenous patients. Ultimately, the project aims to inform the development of practitioner resources.
The researchers are seeking Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian health professionals who are:
- working with Indigenous cancer patients as a general practitioner, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgical oncologist, haematologist, oncology nurse or Indigenous health worker
- currently living in Australia
- 18 years or older
- competent in English.
How can I participate in the survey?
Please follow the link provided https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HealthProfessionals-Indigenous-Cancer and complete the on-line survey.The survey will take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete. You will be able to update responses until the survey is finished or until you have exited the survey.
This page was last updated on: Thursday, August 9, 2012