Cancer Council Victoria has welcomed yesterday’s announcement from the Labor party pledging $18.8 million towards reducing the impact of skin and bowel cancer on Victorian communities and significant investments in support for cancer patients and survivors
Skin and bowel cancer are leading causes of death in Victoria and Australia. If implemented, the Labor Party’s election promises would see Victoria lead the way in preventing and targeting these two common cancers.
Director of Cancer Council Victoria, Professor David Hill, said a lack of awareness and limited screening has contributed to making bowel cancer the second biggest cancer killer in Victoria (after lung cancer). In 2008, 1433 Victorians died from bowel cancer – almost five times the state road toll – despite the fact that alongside skin cancer, it is one of the most treatable cancers.
“The fact bowel cancer claims so many lives is particularly tragic when you consider that more than 90% of cases can be cured if found early. Mr Brumby’s pledge to screen 57,000 Victorians over 50 for bowel cancer over the next three years is a welcome boost for cancer control in the state, particularly when the Federal Government has committed no funds to extend the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program beyond the end of this year,” said Prof. Hill.
The cornerstone of the $18.8 million cancer prevention pledge is $10.4 million for Australia’s most comprehensive UV strategy to be implemented here in Victoria.
“This funding will greatly enhance Cancer Council Victoria's work to minimise the human cost of skin cancer through the SunSmart program. Skin cancer impacts everyone with 2 in 3 people getting some form of skin cancer before they reach 70. There are more than 40,000 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed in Victoria annually. In 2008, 357 Victorians died from skin cancer.
“Today's funding commitment will allow us to take important steps forward in the prevention of skin cancer over the next four years, matched with measurable state targets on awareness and behaviour change, through the SunSmart Program,” said SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward.
Prof. Hill said the re-election commitments to boost cancer treatment services and provide expanded practical support for cancer patients would be invaluable for patients and their families.
“This funding will provide particular benefit to cancer survivors in the form of regional survivorship programs where the emphasis will be linking people to support in local communities,” he said.
Call the Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 for cancer information and support.