Cancer Council Australia

Join our network

Facebook Twitter Google+
Pinterest Youtube RSS

Subscribe by email

To stay updated on the latest news and information released, simply type in your address below and click subscribe.

Enter your email address:

Larger Text Smaller Text Print


Find out the latest news at Cancer Council Australia:

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%.


Take five minutes to tell us what you think about alcohol warning labels

August 2014

Cancer Council Australia is inviting Australians 18 and older to participate in a new survey to help us understand what Australians think about the idea of warning labels on alcohol products.

The Alcohol Labels Survey is being run by Flinders University, the University of Adelaide, Cancer Council Australia, Drug and Alcohol Services Australia and James Cook University to find out what people think about the idea of warning labels on alcohol products.

If you are 18 years or over and live in Australia, you can help by taking the survey - Alcohol Labels Survey. Your answers are important, even if you do not drink much or even at all. While there are no immediate benefits, your answers might help us to develop effective plans to reduce cancer in Australia.

At the end of the survey you can enter a competition for one of three $100 shopping vouchers.

Your answers are completely anonymous. Even if you enter the competition, it is not possible to link you with any of your responses.

You can skip questions that aren't relevant to you so, depending on your answers, it takes between 2 and 5 minutes.


Second-hand 1999 Barina becomes fundraising vehicle

July 2014

How much would you pay for a second-hand 1999 Barina featuring a cassette player and matching seats, if it was for a good cause?

When David Johns decided to create an over-the-top online campaign in a bid to sell his second-hand car, he never expected the campaign would go viral, generating over 600,000 YouTube views and over 500,000 tweets.

With the campaign taking off in the first few days, David has decided to take his car sale to the next level by donating the proceeds to Cancer Council Australia.

David, who lost his dad to cancer 12 years ago, is optimistic that the car’s humble features could result in a big donation to Cancer Council Australia.

Who wouldn’t bid for a 15-year-old classic Aussie car with this sales pitch: “This is Driving Redefined, with 20th Century Technology – FM/AM Radio, Auto-stop Cassette Player, Front/rear screen wiper and internal fan. Don’t just make history, drive it.”

To find out more about Australia’s most glorified second-hand car and how you can make an offer, head to The auction closes on 25 July.


No make up selfies for cancer awareness

March 2014

nomakeupselfie no make up selfie

Cancer Council Australia has been overwhelmed with the public support following the viral #nomakeupselfies for #cancerawareness phenomenon.

CEO, Professor Ian Olver, said the trend that started in the UK had now well and truly spread to Australia.

“We were delighted that so many Australians contacted us after seeing what was happening in the UK and asked how they could donate locally,” Professor Olver said.

“We’ve received more than 2600 donations, raising more than $47,000 since Friday.

“What started out as an overseas campaign to raise cancer awareness, has resulted in an amazing amount of generous support for Cancer Council from the Australian public. We are very grateful to everyone who ditched their make-up and supported us.

“We are hoping to see some more donations come through in the next few days, so stay tuned.”

Cancer Council is the only Australian charity that works with every aspect of cancer, including cancer support services, research, education, prevention and clinical treatment guidelines.

“Cancer Council represents all cancers, from common cancers like bowel, breast cancer and lung cancer, through to rarer cancer types such as pancreatic, anal and brain cancers. Because of this we have seen a wide variety of our supporters get behind this campaign.”

Those wishing to donate can visit or text their donation amount (without the $ sign) to 0459 11 44 11.

You can find Cancer Council Australia’s Facebook Page here:


Be aware - Cancer Council's new skin cancer identification poster

February 2014

We know all about the benefits of shade, sunnies and sunscreen, but when it comes to identifying potential skin cancers, do you really know what to look out for?

Two in three Australians will develop skin cancer by the age of 75. A simple check every now and then can help you spot any potential skin cancers before they spread. It may even save your life!

Spotting the tell-tale signs is key. Cancer Council Australia has created a new poster you can download and print, to help you identify skin changes that need to be checked by a GP.

Including a guide to self-checks, identifying the three main types of skin cancer and signs of eye damage, the poster is designed to educate all Australians about the harsh effects of the sun. We also give you tips on staying SunSmart – because prevention is always better than cure.

It's easy – download and print out the poster, stick it up at work, at home, your local sporting club ... Or if you are a GP, why not put it in your waiting room to help your patients get to know the warning signs of skin cancer.

Download the poster here

Melanoma poster


View archived news

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