Cancer Council Australia

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New Health Minister Peter Dutton set to save 35,000 Australian lives, says Cancer Council

Cancer Council Australia has welcomed the appointment of Peter Dutton as Federal Health Minister, following his election campaign commitment to complete Australia's National Bowel Cancer Screening Program by 2020.

Cancer Council CEO, Professor Ian Olver, said Mr Dutton's promise to finalise the bowel cancer screening program by 2020 would save an additional 35,000 lives over the next 40 years.

?Mr Dutton indicated a strong commitment to the program throughout his tenure as Shadow Health Minister, so it was very encouraging to see the completion of the program included as one of his key campaign commitments,? Professor Olver said.

?His understanding of the evidence supporting the program?s benefits in lives saved bodes well for his appointment.?

Professor Olver said the program?s completion was the most urgent federal intervention in Australia's response to an increasing cancer burden.

?Right now there are thousands of Australians with an early-stage bowel cancer or precancerous condition who show no symptoms of the disease,? he said. ?By screening all Australians age 50 and over, every two years, we will be able to pick up a significant number of those cases when they are relatively easy to treat.

?Our own estimates show that the plan Mr Dutton has to fast-track implementation of the program will prevent an extra 35,000 bowel cancer deaths through early detection over the next 40 years*. I congratulate Mr Dutton on his appointment, and look forward to working with his department on the implementation of his cancer control program.?

Professor Olver said he also welcomed the inclusion of sport in the new Health Minister?s portfolio.

?Physical inactivity is an important cancer risk factor, so we look forward to exploring innovations to combine Australia's love of sport with ways to keep us active and more cancer-smart. Mr Dutton's involvement in this area has great potential to further reduce the nation's cancer risk.?

*35,000 lives saved in addition to the 35,000 lives that will be saved based on the current program implementation ? 70,000 lives saved in total over 40 years.

Media contact: 
Hollie Jenkins
02 8063 4153 or
0400 762 010

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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