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Media Release

Cancer Council calls on all political parties to reduce the impact of cancer, as the federal election campaign gets firmly underway

April 13, 2022

  • Cancer Council launches its five key policy asks of the future Australian Government
  • From reducing tobacco use to under 5% to eliminating cervical cancer, Cancer Council calls on policy-makers to deliver game-changing action for people affected by cancer
  • A NEW video released by Cancer Council highlights the importance of government action now, featuring key experts and individuals affected by cancer
  • Australians are invited to get behind Cancer Council’s calls by taking the Cancer Free Pledge

13 April, 2022 - With the date of the Federal Election now fixed for May 21, Cancer Council is calling on all political parties to commit to five key priorities to help deliver better cancer outcomes for all Australians.

  1. Commit to ongoing funding for national skin cancer prevention
    With two in three Australians expected to be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, it remains Australia’s most common cancer, despite being one of the most preventable. Sustained investment in skin cancer prevention will help ensure Australians are protecting themselves against sun exposure and reducing their risk of skin cancer.
  2. Reduce Australia’s tobacco use to less than 5%
    With tobacco use being the leading cause of preventable deaths in Australia, attributable for an estimated 20,933 lives lost in 2015, evidence-based action is needed to reduce Australia’s tobacco use to less than 5%. By reviving Australia’s National Tobacco Campaign, strengthening efforts to reduce tobacco use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and protecting young Australians from the dangers of e-cigarettes, Cancer Council says that governments and future governments can achieve this goal, and save thousands of lives.
  3. Screen to reduce the impact of lung cancer in Australia
    As the leading cause of cancer death in Australia and with very low survival rates, it’s important to detect lung cancer early. Between 2013 – 2017, on average, only around one in five people diagnosed with lung cancer survived five or more years. Screening would help improve these survival rates.
  4. Eliminate cervical cancer in Australia
    Despite Australia being on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health concern, there is still a way to go. With over 70% of cervical cancers detected in under-screened women, it’s vital to encourage all eligible people to screen. By committing to sustained funding for community-led programs to encourage screening among under-screened groups, we can get closer to the elimination of cervical cancer.
  5. Deliver access to world-class cancer care – whether in the city or the outback
    With Australians living in rural or remote areas of the country facing greater risk of dying within five years of cancer compared to those living in urban areas, it’s crucial that this gap is addressed. By delivering high quality cancer care, information and support to those who need it, regardless of where they live or receive treatment, we can improve cancer outcomes for more Australians.

Cancer Council CEO, Professor Tanya Buchanan, noted that nearly one-in-two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.“Almost all Australians are affected by cancer in some way, whether it be a personal diagnosis or the impact of cancer on a loved one. Yet we also know that one in three cancers are preventable, meaning that a future where the incidence of cancer is reduced is something we can work towards.

“It’s important for all Australians to have the best chance at preventing cancer, but also to have the best outcomes and support where prevention isn’t possible. We all have a role to play to in this and that’s why we’re calling for whoever forms the next government to commit to these five, evidence backed policy asks, and help reduce the impact of cancer for all Australians,” she added.

Professor Buchanan also noted the importance of ensuring ongoing resourcing to prevent and detect cancer early, which has been deprioritised over the last two years due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prioritising health care resources towards managing the COVID-19 pandemic has been necessary, but it’s now time to address the impact of increased unhealthy behaviours during periods of lockdown and restrictions that are likely to contribute to increased cancer burden.

“We’re expecting a long tail from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why it’s even more crucial to address this impact now,” concluded Professor Buchanan.

Further to this call on the Australian Government, Cancer Council is asking the public to join in its efforts and show support by taking the Cancer Free Pledge. In line with this, Cancer Council has released a video featuring key experts from around the country and people affected by cancer, outlining the importance of its five election asks for all Australians.

To take the pledge or find out more, visit

To access Cancer Council’s new video and longer-form video content around each of its five key policy asks, please see below.

- Cancer Council Federal Election ‘22 Policy Asks

- Video One: Commit to ongoing funding for national skin cancer prevention

- Video Two: Reduce Australia’s tobacco use to less than 5% - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tobacco Use

- Video Three: Reduce Australia’s tobacco use to less than 5% - E-Cigarette Use

- Video Four: Screen to reduce the impact of lung cancer in Australia

- Video Five: Eliminate cervical cancer in Australia

- Video Six: Deliver access to world-class cancer care

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