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State Government commitment to cancer research welcomed

Tuesday 16 April, 2013

The Cancer Council Victoria today welcomed a $1.7 million funding commitment from the Victorian Government towards cancer research.

Minister for Health David Davis announced the funding for two groundbreaking research initiatives led by the Cancer Council. A $1.5 million grant will allow the Victorian Cancer Registry to expand its e-Pathology pilot and a $200,000 grant will go towards new research on mesothelioma - one of the state's deadliest diseases.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Todd Harper, said funding for cancer research was always an important, long-term investment.

"Investing in research now will help reduce the state's cancer burden into the future, and could save lives," Mr Harper said.

"We are already working hard to improve treatments and outcomes for cancer patients, as well as reducing the number of cancers that are diagnosed in the late stages. This latest funding commitment from the government will help build on that critical work."

The Cancer Council's Victorian Cancer Registry is a population-based cancer registry that receives more than 180,000 individual notifications of cancer each year from about 240 hospitals and 40 pathology laboratories. Data from these multiple notifications are collated for use in reporting of cancer incidence and mortality.

The e-Pathology pilot implemented new technology to automate the selection and secure electronic transfer of pathology notifications to the registry. By doing this, the registry has demonstrated a reduction in the administrative burden on our health services, and improved the timeliness and integrity of data being collected.

"The electronic capture of pathology by the registry will enable researchers and the health industry to improve planning, evaluation and benchmarking," Mr Harper said.

The Cancer Council will contribute money, thanks to a generous donor, on top of the government's $200,000 grant towards new research into Mesothelioma. This is a very aggressive disease, which has the lowest five-year survival rate of any cancer in Victoria* (of 6%). Over 130 Victorians die from mesothelioma each year.

Mr Harper also welcomed news of the appointment of the new Victorian Cancer Agency Consultative Council, which will mean the VCA can start making much-needed funding grants available to the state's cancer research community.

*Statistics taken from Cancer Survival in Victoria 2012 published by the Victorian Cancer Registry.