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Uncovering why some patients have poorer lung cancer outcomes

January 29, 2016


A researcher from Monash University who aims to uncover why there are differences in lung cancer outcomes for Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) has been awarded Cancer Council funding through a national priority research scheme. 

The grant, awarded through the Priority Driven Research Scheme administered by the Government agency Cancer Australia, will be utilised by Professor Danielle Mazza to compare the treatment pathways of CALD and Anglo-Australian patients. 

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide and in Australia kills more people than breast, prostate and ovarian cancer combined - it is responsible for almost one in five cancer deaths in the country. 

Professor Mazza said that traditionally some groups had poorer outcomes and the research aimed to shed light on reasons for this. 

"Culturally and linguistically diverse patients are especially vulnerable to higher mortality rates compared to their Anglo-Australian counterparts. At the moment we don't know why this is - no Australian studies have examined the potential barriers for CALD patients undergoing lung cancer treatment. 

"We hope to fill in the gaps in our knowledge by comparing how long it takes a patient from a CALD background to receive treatment after symptoms first develop compared to Anglo-patients, by tracking differences in their treatment pathways." 

Cancer Council Australia CEO, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said that lung cancer was under-researched in Australia. 

"Lung cancer attracts less research funding, despite the high proportion of cancer deaths it causes. This is the first study of its kind in Australia and will assist with future planning by helping us identify inequities in the health system that can be improved for CALD communities." 

The grant to Professor Mazza is for $430,000 over three years. 

Details on how to apply for the2016 round of the Priority Driven Research Scheme are now available via Cancer Australia here