Cancer Council Victoria is urging leaders to act during Brain Cancer Action Week (May 4-8), as one Australian every six hours is diagnosed with the often fatal disease.
Brain cancer takes about 1100 lives nationally every year and is the leading cancer killer for young people under the age of 39 and children under 15 years of age.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said that while great improvements had been made in the survival rates of the more common cancers in recent years, brain cancer had been largely left behind.
"In almost 20 years we've seen no significant improvement in survival rates for brain cancer, with the five year survival rate sitting presently at 22 per cent nationally - well behind other, more common cancers, like breast and prostate," Mr Harper said.
With the onset of Brain Cancer Action Week, television personality Carrie Bickmore has drawn attention to the disease by dedicating her Gold Logie to her late husband, Greg Lange who passed away from brain cancer in 2010.
"Cancer Council Victoria applauds Ms Bickmore's brave and bold decision to raise awareness for brain cancer at such an occasion," Mr Harper said.
"Today two-in-three Victorians will survive cancer five years after diagnosis. If we are to lift overall cancer survival rates, investment in dedicated research into ‘forgotten' cancers, like brain cancer, needs to happen," he said.
Cancer Council Victoria is investigating the causes of brain cancer and other less common cancers through the Forgotten Cancers Project. We need 15,000 Australians with a less common cancer to take part - visit forgottencancers.com.au to find out more, take part, and spread the word.
This Friday, Cancer Council Victoria in conjunction with several other community organisations is hosting a free forum in Melbourne for brain cancer patients, carers and family. The forum will focus on malignant tumours in adults, and presentations will include information on the latest in clinical trials, new treatment options, understanding more about seizures, and emotional and practical support. To register and find out more, visit cancervic.org.au/braintumourforum.