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Find out the latest news at Cancer Council Australia:

Scholarships available for Oceania Tobacco Control Conference

July 2015

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.


Health practitioners needed for research

June 2015

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 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.


Roxanne Dubash wins Cancer Council student essay competition

May 2015

Medical student Roxanne Dubash, from the University of Newcastle/New England Joint Medical Program, has won the 2015 Cancer Council Australia Student Essay Competition.

Roxanne's winning essay on 'Research and the Changing Landscape of Oncology: The Journey of Cancer Control' explored the impact of science on cancer prevention, treatment and detection from the 16th Century, through to present day.

Mapping out landmark discoveries in cancer causes, treatment, prevention and treatment, Roxanne also provided commentary on how these discoveries impact modern day medical education.

Essay were judged by Cancer Council’s Oncology Education Committee according to their concise and logical presentation of their argument, relevance to cancer care in Australia and relevance to medical students.

Committee Chair, Darren Starmer, said that with a high number of quality entries, it was hard to pick a winner, but Roxanne’s entry stood out.

"As well as being well written, engaging and concise, Roxanne's essay captured the breadth of research developments in cancer control over a significant time period and demonstrated how they remain relevant today."

Roxanne's prize includes a trip to Vienna, Austria to attend the World Health Organisation's – Collaborating Centre for Cancer Education's International Summer School 'Oncology for Medical Students'.

Second place in the competition was awarded to Yiliang Zheng, while third place went to Reuben Sum. Both will receive book gift vouchers.

The competition is open to any student currently enrolled in a medical course in an Australian University. For the 2015 competition, students were asked to submit an essay on the theme 'Research and the changing landscape of oncology'.


#Beaniesforbraincancer helps raise awareness of brain cancer

May 2015

Following TV star Carrie Bickmore’s powerful speech about brain cancer at the Logies, Cancer Council Australia is encouraging Australians to get behind Brain Cancer Action Week (4-8 May). 

Carrie spoke about her late husband’s personal experience with brain cancer and encouraged Australians to help raise awareness by posting photos of themselves in beanies online, using the hashtag #beaniesforbraincancer

Each year, around 1700 Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer, and sadly, approximately 1200 people die from the disease. It is also the leading cancer killer for young people under the age of 39 and children under the age of 10. Compared to other cancers, it also has a relatively low survival rate of just 22 per cent.

As well as funding brain cancer research, Cancer Councils are involved in providing support and information to brain cancer patients. During Brain Cancer Action Week free education and support forums are being held in both Sydney and Melbourne.

For further information on brain cancer please see our website, or call us on 13 11 20.



Genetic ovarian cancer risk

March 2015

The decision of actress Angelina Jolie to have preventative surgery to prevent ovarian cancer is currently attracting lots of attention in the news. Australian women may be curious to know more about ovarian cancer and the BRCA genes.

In Australia, around 1 in 81 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime and around 1330 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year.

It is estimated that up to 10 per cent of ovarian cancer cases are linked to known genetic risks, with a small percentage of women carrying the BRCA genes linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Women with a history of breast or ovarian cancer in their family who are concerned about their genetic risk can discuss this with their doctor, who can advise on whether or not genetic testing is appropriate for them.

Preventative surgery on the basis of genetic risk to ovarian cancer is a complex issue. We recommend anyone considering this form of surgery to make an informed decision by gaining expert advice.

There is no screening test for ovarian cancer, but women should be aware of some of the signs and symptoms, which include:

  • persistent abdominal pain
  • pelvic or back pain
  • cramps, swelling, bloating
  • symptoms of urinary frequency or changed bowel habits with constipation or diarrhoea and/or nausea
  • fullness after food, weight loss, loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • painful intercourse or vaginal bleeding.

If you have questions about ovarian cancer, you can call Cancer Council support and information on 13 11 20.


The results are in: plain packaging in Australia is working

March 2015

The introduction of plain packaging on tobacco products is working, according to the first comprehensive evaluation of the legislation.

Published in the British Medical Journal, a special supplement of 14 separate studies showed that the legislation had gone beyond expectations and delivered on its aims.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Plain packaging has reduced the appeal of packs, particularly with adolescents and young adults.
  • The legislation has not increased the consumption of illicit “cheap white” cigarettes.
  • Plain packaging has encouraged smokers to think about and attempt to quit.

Cancer Council Victoria's Professor Melanie Wakefield, whose team led the evaluation, said: “These results should give confidence to countries considering plain packaging, that plain packs not only reduce appeal of tobacco products and increase the effectiveness of health warnings, but also diminish the tobacco industry's ability to use packs to mislead consumers about the harms of smoking."

Find out more on The Plain Facts website.


Vale Mrs Judith Roberts AO

February 2015

Cancer Council Australia pays tribute to one of its most distinguished former office bearers, Mrs Judith Roberts AO, who died on Tuesday in her home city of Adelaide. Mrs Roberts was President of Cancer Council Australia for three years, from 2004 to 2006.

Acting President of Cancer Council Australia, Jane Fenton, said Mrs Roberts would be remembered as one of the great contributors to cancer control in Australia and to public health more generally. “Mrs Roberts’s career highlights include direct involvement in the establishment of cervical and breast cancer screening programs in Australia and her appointment as the first South Australian woman on the executive of the National Health and Medical Research Council,” Ms Fenton said.

“Mrs Roberts represented Cancer Council Australia’s Board with distinction for 11 years, including six years as vice-president and president during periods of significant progress. She will be remembered for her devotion to public health and her capacity to bring together people from a range of backgrounds to achieve important outcomes.”


World Cancer Day 2015

January 2015

World Cancer Day 2015 is organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and held annually on the 4 February.

This year’s international theme is ‘Cancer, Not Beyond Us’, putting the focus on the things that all of us can do to help beat cancer – from early detection and prevention through to quality of life for cancer survivors and access to treatment worldwide.

There are plenty of things that Australians can do to get involved in this year’s campaign - from joining the UICC’s social media #WorldCancerDay Thunderclap campaign to raise awareness of the day, to starting a conversation about cancer with friends and family.

This World Cancer Day, Cancer Council Australia is particularly encouraging Australians to be aware of the simple steps we can take to lower our cancer risk.

One third of cancer deaths in Australia are caused by preventable risk factors such as smoking, limited physical activity, poor diet, sun exposure or not taking part in screening programs.

Find out more about the seven key cancer reducing steps that we are encouraging Australians to take here.

Or visit the international website here:


Priority driven research applications now open

January 2015

The Federal Government agency, Cancer Australia, is calling for applications for its 2015 round of the Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme.

The funding scheme helps to:

  • fund research in tumour areas that place a high burden of disease on the Australian community
  • fund cancer research projects that directly relate to the identified priorities of Cancer Australia and/or its funding partners
  • fund research that can directly improve cancer outcomes by influencing clinical practice, policy and/or care.

As one of the scheme’s funding partners, Cancer Council Australia is supporting research addressing inequalities in cancer care and outcomes. Further details on this year’s research priorities through the scheme, including those funded by other organisations can be found online here.

For more information on applying and key dates, please see the Cancer Australia website.

For details of other research conducted and funded by Cancer Councils around Australia, visit the research section of our website.


September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September 2014

Did you know that September is International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

In Australia, more than 600 children are diagnosed with cancer each year and tragically, one in six children dies as a result.

Around the country, research projects are underway with the aim of improving diagnosis and treatment for children. Cancer Councils fund a number of research projects directly related to cancers that impact children, such as leukaemia, brain tumours, lymphoma and many others. For example, Cancer Council NSW is funding research that is trying to develop a new treatment for neuroblastoma to stop the cancer from growing and spreading You can find more information on Cancer Council research via our website.

Childhood cancer is relatively rare and for that reason, collaborations with multiple centres around the world are important to get large enough samples for clinical trials and research. It is important to acknowledge the role of children’s cancer charities in Australia and around the world who contribute to research in this field, such as the Children’s Cancer Institute in Australia, who also promote Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

An important facilitator of research is the repository and maintenance of data. Cancer Council Queensland independently funds and manages the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry, one of the few national registers of childhood cancer in the world. The registry records clinical and treatment information on all children diagnosed with cancer in Australia.

A critical aspect of our work in children’s cancers is to provide information and support to children and their families. As well as our range of cancer publications, we provide confidential phone information and support via Cancer Council 13 11 20*. We also have an online forum and resources, such as those provided by Cancer Council Victoria. And we provide the opportunity for families to share their stories, such as that of Jack Norman. At age 6, Jack is about to start his third round of radiotherapy and is facing his future with tenacity and hope.

To assist GPs and health professionals, Cancer Council has recently produced a ‘red flags’ guide to alert health professionals to the warning signs of cancer in children.

The challenge of childhood cancers is enormous, yet we are making progress, with the five year survival rate for childhood cancers in Australia improving since the 1980s from 68% to 81%.


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This page was last updated on: Thursday, August 9, 2012