Daffodil Day celebrates 30 years of growing hope

Thursday 25 August, 2016

5-year cancer survival increased by 20%

Cancer Council's much-loved Daffodil Day will turn 30 tomorrow, coinciding with three decades of significant advancements towards a cancer-free world.

The Victorian 5-year survival rate has increased by 20%, up from 47% in 1986 to 67% in 2013.

We have seen ground-breaking research discoveries, treatment advances, and prevention game-changers in cancer over the past 30 years, said Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper.

"Thanks to the generosity of millions of Australians, a diagnosis of cancer is a very different experience with a much-improved prognosis than it was in 1986. Over the past 30 years, Cancer Councils have contributed over $830 million to cancer research nationally," Mr Harper said.

Some cancers have seen significant increases over the past 30 years thanks to investment in research and treatment. Five-year survival rates are now up around 90% for some cancers, including melanoma which has a survival rate of 89% (up from 85% in 1986), thyroid cancer now at 98% (up from 93% in 1986) and uterine cancer up to 86% (up from 77% in 1986).

Mr Harper said that through public awareness campaigns, more effective diagnosis techniques, targeted treatment options and world-class research, more people than ever are living long after cancer.

"We've come a long way in the fight against cancer, however there's still much to do and we need the support of Victorians more than ever. With more people being diagnosed and living longer after a cancer diagnosis there is an increasing need for support services for survivors."

While there is good news, Mr Harper said there are also high mortality cancers that have seen little improvement in survival, and focused investment is urgently needed.

"Victorians diagnosed today with a high mortality cancer have a less than 30% chance of being alive in five years. For some, it's as low as 7%. Funds raised through Daffodil Day enable Cancer Council Victoria to fund world-class research projects, including into these high mortality cancers."

Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas said the generosity of Victorians on Daffodil Day is supporting more people than ever to survive cancer.

"Funds raised over 30 years have supported Victorians with cancer and led to world leading breakthroughs in cancer care and treatment, but we know more still needs to be done to find a cure and save more lives."

"That's why the Andrews Labor Government has set an ambitious target of saving 10,000 lives from cancer in the next 10 years as part of our Victorian cancer plan 2016-2020."

Milestones in the fight against cancer since Daffodil Day kicked off in 1986 include:


After years of intense lobbying, and standing up against the tobacco industry, the Tobacco Act was introduced. In a world-first, it created VicHealth to replace tobacco sponsorship of sport and arts with health promotion messages. In 1989 the Government made history by passing the first-ever private member's Bill to implement a ban on print advertising of tobacco and tobacco products. In Victoria, the daily adult smoking rate is now below 13%, down from 21% in 1998.


Past president of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Frazer, and Dr Jian Zhou create a world-first human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. To date, over 6 million doses of the Gardasil vaccine has been given to girls and young women across the country. Rates of cervical cancer have fallen by 57% and deaths have declined by 68%.


Cancer Council Victoria launch the Cancer Connect program, which has now trained 350 volunteers across Victoria to provide peer support across many different types of cancer. Last year, support was provided by 118 trained peers across 39 cancer types to 527 people affected by cancer.


Victorian Professor Donald Metcalf's ground-breaking work in colony stimulating factors (CSFs) was honoured by the Cancer Council, which had supported his research for more than 50 years. At least 20 million people worldwide are estimated to have received CSFs as part of cancer treatment.


SunSmart celebrates 30 years educating the community about sun protection. More than 103,000 skin cancers were prevented in Victoria between 1988 and 2003 and more than 1000 deaths averted since the Slip! Slop! Slap! campaign began. Incidence rates for melanoma have declined in both men and women, particularly those who have grown up in the SunSmart era.


From 1 January, solariums are banned in Victoria following campaigning from Cancer Council over many years.

About Cancer Council Victoria & Daffodil Day

Cancer Council Victoria is a non-profit organisation and has been leading the fight against all cancers for 80 years. We focus on cancer research, patient support, cancer prevention and advocacy. To speak to our experienced cancer nurses, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for support and information.

This year, Cancer Council's flagship fundraising event Daffodil Day will take place across Australia on Friday 26 August.

People are encouraged to show they care by purchasing Daffodil Day merchandise from one of the 220 Daffodil Day sites across Victoria. They can also make a donation via www.daffodilday.com.au or by calling 1300 65 65 85.

Updated: 25 Aug, 2016