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Media Release

Cancer Council welcomes the first Roadmap to Liver Cancer Control and Clinical Guidelines

June 22, 2023

Cancer Council Australia and the Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney, welcomes the release of the first-of-its-kind Roadmap to Liver Cancer Control and clinical practice guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance. Supported by $780,000 funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, the Roadmap outlines the priorities over the next 2, 5 and 10 years to reduce the disease burden and improve outcomes and survival rates for all Australians affected by liver cancer.  

The Roadmap is the first coordinated approach to liver cancer prevention and early detection in Australia.  Developed in line with the Australian Cancer Plan and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Plan, the Roadmap contains 26 priority actions for clinicians, researchers and policy makers to guide national action across improving live cancer outcomes.  

The primary focus will be on the start of the liver cancer continuum, from prevention to early detection and treatment access. The Roadmap has been designed to prioritise high-risk populations including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, culturally and linguistically diverse audiences, and those living in rural and remote areas. 

Professor Tanya Buchanan, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, said that the release of the Roadmap is a huge step in working towards improving outcomes for Australians affected by liver cancer.  

“Liver cancer is currently the seventh deadliest cancer in Australia and unfortunately, liver cancer mortality rates in Australia continue to grow faster than any other cancer, with incidence rates 3 times higher among men than women, and a survival rate is just over 20 per cent.   

“Thanks to the collective efforts of various organisations, experts in their field, and the funding from the Australian Government, the Roadmap is the first, and surely not the last, pathway towards a cancer-free future.” 

Project Lead, Associate Professor Eleonora Feletto from the Daffodil Centre, said, “The Roadmap and guidelines are critical in working towards improving liver cancer outcomes as there has been less funding and research into liver cancer control compared to many other cancers. In the development phase, we reviewed existing data, screening and surveillance programs, and mapped out the current clinical service delivery for early detection of liver cancer. This helped in development of the roadmap towards reducing the liver cancer burden in Australia. With the release of the Roadmap and guidelines, we also hope to see additional research and funding into liver cancer, with an additional focus on identifying advanced liver disease and cirrhosis.” 

Dr Nicole Allard, GP and Expert Advisory Group Co-Chair said the Roadmap and guidelines will be instrumental for health professionals in delivering best-practice care for the prevention and management of liver cancer, particularly to high-risk audiences.  

“Across the board we are working to reduce health inequities and discrimination against high-risk audiences, and this is clearly addressed in the Roadmap and guidelines. It is important that we as health professionals provide culturally sensitive and safe health care. By improving health literacy, awareness, and understanding of liver cancer control activities amongst health professionals, we can deliver the best of care to all Australians experiencing liver cancer.”  

Accompanying the Roadmap is the first Australian Clinical practice guidelines for hepatocellular carcinoma surveillance for people at high risk in Australia 2023, led by Co-Chairs Professor Jacob George and Dr Nicole Allard, the Expert Advisory Group, the Community Reference Group and supported by the Daffodil Centre. These guidelines address the current gaps in liver cancer prevention, including screening for viral hepatitis and cirrhosis. 

“We look forward to seeing the Roadmap to Liver Cancer Control in action over the next 2, 5 and 10 years so we can improve the survival rate of liver cancer, and ultimately, save lives,” concludes Professor Buchanan.  

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