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Tanya Buchanan

Tanya Buchanan

Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Council Australia

Professor Tanya Buchanan is Cancer Council Australia’s Chief Executive Officer. Tanya joined Cancer Council Australia in November 2020 and brings many years of experience in public health to her role.

Tanya has a proven track record in leading organisations to improve health outcomes, having held the role of Chief Executive Officer of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in Wales, United Kingdom. Here, she worked with the sector on the introduction of smoke-free premises and drove the formation of a Wales-specific tobacco control strategy in collaboration with the Welsh Government. She has also held positions as the CEO of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, Executive Director of the International Association for Public Participation Australasia, and Divisional Manager for Community, Cultural and Economic Development at Wollongong City Council.

Tanya was drawn to issues of social justice and health policy while completing an arts degree at Murdoch University. She subsequently studied Nursing at Curtin University of Technology and an MBA in Health Services at Edith Cowan University. Tanya has completed a PhD focused on tobacco control in Australia and proudly holds a range of qualifications including being a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course (GAICD). 

Tanya commenced her career as a Registered Nurse working in oncology and neurosurgery. She has worked for the Red Cross Blood Service Australia, in academia, local government and the voluntary sector. Tanya is also an Honorary Professor of Practice at the School of Health & Society (Public Health) at the University of University of Wollongong and continues to be active in public health research and practice.

Tanya has worked hard to grow Cancer Council Australia’s leadership, culture and impact. Since beginning as CEO, she has successfully advocated for Federal Government funding for public health and cancer programs, delivered major national public health campaigns including the award-winning Get2It National Bowel Cancer Screening Campaign, and lobbied to secure Government and community support for evidence-based best practice public health policy.

Professor Tanya Buchanan said:

When we can address factors that influence cancer and cancer prevention, we also have success around respiratory and heart health and other chronic disease. So that public health piece of cancer prevention and control is actually much broader; it’s about improving health outcomes more generally and prevention of chronic disease nationally."

She also navigated Cancer Council Australia through significant change in management processes and built a vibrant, supportive workplace culture that saw the organisation named Voice Workplace of the Year two years running.

I’m really passionate about being at Cancer Council Australia and the changes we can make, and about building teams that share that passion for why we’re here and what we’re working to achieve. I believe that a good leader communicates and collaborates on their vision, creates an environment based on trust, and encourages conversations that bring out different viewpoints on how to achieve the collective purpose."

Tanya is available for interviews about a range of cancer issues including cancer prevention, early detection, support and research. For an interview with Tanya Buchanan, please contact Cancer. Council Australia's Media Team at (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team at [email protected].

Megan  Varlow

Megan Varlow

Director, Cancer Control Policy

Megan Varlow is Director Cancer Control Policy at Cancer Council Australia, responsible for the development of national policy and advocacy for its implementation.

After training as a psychologist, Megan was endorsed in clinical and health psychology and spent ten years in clinical environments working mostly with people living with chronic diseases and serious mental illness. Frustrated by the systemic factors that confounded an individual’s experience of chronic illness, Megan then worked in an academic clinical research unit and subsequently moved to NSW Health where she spent almost eight years at the Cancer Institute NSW, the NSW government’s cancer control agency.

Megan is passionate about lessening the impact of cancer on all Australians, and is especially interested in reducing the inequalities in cancer outcomes experienced by people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, regional and remote, lower socio-economic and migrant communities.

Megan is available for interview and can discuss Cancer Council Australia’s advocacy and policy priorities, informed financial consent, out-of-pocket costs, and the physical, emotional and financial impact of cancer.

For an interview with Megan Varlow, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected]

Professor Bernard Stewart

Professor Bernard Stewart

Scientific Advisor, Cancer Council Australia MSc PhD FRACI DipLaw and Conjoint Professor at UNSW

Professor Stewart is an internationally recognised expert in all aspects of environmental carcinogenesis (cancer causation), including the investigation of cancer clusters and medico-legal aspects of tobacco smoke-induced cancer.

He has had extensive advisory involvement with International Agency for Research on Cancer and co-edited the World Cancer Report for the World Health Organisation. In 2008 Professor Stewart published a new approach to qualitative assessment of carcinogenic risks.

A member of the Council of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia and an advisor to the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre, Professor Stewart has had a close association with Cancer Council Australia for more than 25 years. 

Professor Karen  Canfell

Professor Karen Canfell

Chair, Cancer Screening and Immunisation Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Karen Canfell is inaugural Director of the Daffodil Centre, a flagship centre of the University of Sydney and a joint venture with Cancer Council NSW, Australia. She is also Professor & NHMRC Leadership Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney.  Her research involves evaluation and translation of new strategies for cancer control and she has led multiple impact and economic evaluations for government agencies in Australia and internationally.  For example, her work underpins the transformation of the National Cervical Screening Program in Australia which in 2017 moved to HPV DNA testing to replace Pap smears.  In collaboration with the VCS Foundation, she initiated Compass, Australia’s largest clinical trial (76,000 women), and the first trial internationally to assess cervical screening in an HPV-vaccinated population.  Compass is directly supporting the implementation of new cervical screening program, acting as a sentinel experience for safety monitoring and evaluation.

Professor Canfell is active in global health and leads key aspects of the WHO impact and investment case for cervical cancer elimination.  Her team’s work is cited in the WHO strategic plan for elimination and findings from key publications were presented at the Executive Board (EB) of the WHO with the EB's subsequent support of the resolution for elimination.  In the period 2020-21, her team has supported WHO in development of detailed clinical management guidelines for cervical screening in low-income countries.  In 2020 she initiated, and co-leads with Dr. Freddie Bray from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the COVID-19 and Cancer Global Modelling Consortium (CCGMC) with key partners IARC, the International Cancer Screening Network, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the coordinating centre Cancer Council NSW.  The CCGMC brings together the global modelling community to support decision-making across cancer control both during and after the crisis.

Professor Canfell is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), 2020 recipient of the NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Award (Leadership in Health Services Research), and the 2021 recipient of Cancer Australia’s Jeanne Ferris Award for her contributions to gynaecological cancer research.

For an interview with Professor Canfell, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected].

Heather Walker

Heather Walker

Chair, Skin Cancer Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Heather Walker is one of the Cancer Council's experts on skin cancer.

Heather has demonstrated leadership and a passion for advancing our efforts in skin cancer prevention. As Head of SunSmart at Cancer Council Victoria, Heather also leads the state's skin cancer prevention and early detection program and contributes to the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on UV Radiation.

Prior to joining Cancer Council Victoria, Heather led work across policy issues at Cancer Research UK, achieving increased investment in the NHS diagnostic and radiotherapy services. Heather is also a Subject Coordinator on the University of Melbourne's Master of Cancer Sciences degree. She holds a Masters of Public Policy with Distinction from the University of Oxford.

Heather is a regular commentator on skin cancer, sun protection and early detection in Australian media. For an interview with Heather Walker, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected].

Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Sinclair

Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Sinclair

Head of Prevention, Cancer Council Victoria

As a previous chair of Cancer Council Australia's Public Health Committee and Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, Adjunct Associate Professor Craig Sinclair is an expert media commentator on a broad range of public health issues related to cancer prevention including obesity, alcohol and cancer screening.

Craig Sinclair is also one of Australia's leading experts on skin cancer prevention and is the Director of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Collaborative Centre for UV Radiation. He is an author of over 30 peer reviewed publications. For an interview with Craig Sinclair, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected]

Anita  Dessaix

Anita Dessaix

Chair, Public Health Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Anita is Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Public Health Committee and Director of Cancer Prevention and Advocacy at Cancer Council NSW.

She has more than 15 years' experience within the NSW public health sector, including 12 years' experience in cancer prevention specifically. As well as working as a private consultant, she has previously held senior management positions in public health organisations including the Cancer Institute NSW and the NSW Ministry of Health, where she gained specific expertise in tobacco control and skin cancer prevention.

Within her current role at Cancer Council NSW, Anita is responsible for leading strategy and program efforts in the two Cancer Council NSW focus areas of Prevention and Advocacy. The Division's focus is on reducing the burden of cancer and reducing cancer risk across NSW communities, through targeted programs, policy, advocacy and retail stores.

As Chair of Cancer Council Australia's Public Health Committee, Anita is a leading advocate for cancer prevention, particularly in a policy context. Topics she can discuss include cancer risk in relation to tobacco control, sun protection, nutrition and physical activity, alcohol and obesity. Anita holds a Master of Arts in Communication Management from the University of Technology, Sydney and a Master of Public Health from The University of Sydney.

For media interviews with Anita, contact the Cancer Council Australia media team on (02) 8256 4109 (our media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours) or email [email protected]

Libby Jardine

Libby Jardine

Chair, Tobacco Issues Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Libby Jardine is Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Tobacco Issues Committee and one of Cancer Council’s leading experts on the impact of tobacco in Australia.  

As a longstanding advocate for tobacco control, Libby aims to raise awareness of the harms of smoking, particularly in relation to cancer risk. She can also comment on Australia’s world-leading tobacco control measures and the further steps that need be taken to reduce Australia’s tobacco disease burden.  

As Manager of Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History program, Libby leads a team to implement an evidence based comprehensive program to drive down smoking rates in WA. 

With over 10 years’ experience working on tobacco control, her work has included initiating the development of a new program focussed on providing extra support to priority groups in Western Australia to quit smoking and managing a $3 million per year program to promote tobacco control in WA. 

Libby has a Bachelor of Behavioural Science, majoring in Health Science and Counselling, and previously worked at Cancer Council NSW and Queensland Health in cancer prevention.  

For an interview with Libby Jardine please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team at [email protected]

Gemma  Lock

Gemma Lock

Chair, Supportive Care Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Gemma is General Manager, Cancer Support and Information at Cancer Council Queensland and leads Cancer Council Australia’s Supportive Care Committee.

With over 10 years’ experience in nursing and patient care, Gemma understands the impact a cancer diagnosis has on an individual’s relationships, career and employment, finances, physical and mental well-being and day-to-day life. 

That is why Gemma is passionate about raising awareness of Cancer Council’s support services that are available to all Australians living with cancer – including Cancer Council‘s 13 11 20 support and information line, information resources and practical and financial support. 

Gemma’s national role includes guiding Cancer Council’s national supportive care priorities to improve supportive care for Australians impacted by cancer and fostering collaboration between Cancer Council’s supportive care staff working around the country.  

Gemma is available for interview and can also discuss the emotional and physical side effects of cancer and it’s treatment, strategies for coping after a diagnosis, how to access support services, how to support loved ones, talking to kids about cancer, looking after carers and life after treatment.   

For an interview with Gemma Lock please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected]

Professor Tim Driscoll

Professor Tim Driscoll

Chair, Occupational and Environmental Cancer Risk Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Professor Tim Driscoll is Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Occupational and Environmental Cancer Committee and a leading expert in environmental and workplace cancer risks.

Tim is also Professor in Epidemiology and Occupational Medicine in the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

Tim’s main areas of interest include the burden of occupational disease and injury; occupational cancers and exposure to occupational carcinogens, particularly asbestos. He is also interested in improving the communication of epidemiology and cancer principles and findings to the general public.

He also leads the occupational risk factors expert working group in the Global Burden of Disease study.

Tim is a regular commentator on environmental and occupational cancer prevention and as Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Occupational and Environmental Cancer Risk Committee can discuss environmental cancer risks, common cancer risks in the workplace and action that should that be taken to reduce Australia’s workplace cancer burden.

For an interview with Professor Driscoll, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected]

Clare  Hughes

Clare Hughes

Chair, Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Clare Hughes is the Chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee, Cancer Council Australia. With extensive experience in the health and nutrition field, Clare leads the national committee to encourage Australians to lead a healthy lifestyle through education about the importance of physical activity and diet in preventing cancer, as well as advocating for health policy to support healthy lifestyle measures.

Clare is also the Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW where she leads a team of dietitians and nutritionists responsible for nutrition-related cancer prevention projects. She leads projects including the Healthy Lunch Box website, advocacy to reduce cancers associated with increased bodyweight, alcohol, unhealthy eating and physical inactivity, strategic research into food labelling and food marketing to children.

Prior to joining Cancer Council, Clare spent eight years as the Senior Food Policy Officer at Australia’s consumer organisation CHOICE. She was responsible for ensuring the interests of consumers were considered during food policy processes. During this time, she led CHOICE’s policy and advocacy projects on obesity, food labelling, food marketing, genetic modification and food safety. Clare also has more than 15 years’ experience representing both public health and consumer interests on the nutrition and food policy issues such as the NHMRC Dietary Guidelines Working Committee and the Health Star Ratings Technical Working Group.

Clare is available for interview and discussion on topics including tips to improve diet and lifestyle, how diet and lifestyle can reduce cancer risk and the impact of nutrition, physical activity and alcohol on cancer risk.

Clare can also talk about Cancer Council’s policy recommendations for physical activity and nutrition including the implementation of a comprehensive obesity prevention strategy, restrictions to junk food marketing to children, added sugar labelling and alcohol reforms.

Clare holds a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition), Master of Public Health and a Graduate Certificate in Public Policy.

For an interview with Clare Hughes please contact Cancer Council Australia’s Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected].

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