State Budget focus on preventing cancer in Victoria

Tuesday 5 May, 2015

Cancer Council Victoria has welcomed a strong focus on cancer prevention in today's State Budget, which includes a range of initiatives designed to reduce the impact of cancer on Victoria.

Projects in the 2015 State Budget that will help prevent skin cancers, occupational and environmental cancers and those related to smoking include:

  • $3.8 million per year for SunSmart to keep reducing the impact of skin cancer on our community.
  • $1 million for Quitline to provide information and counselling that helps people quit smoking.
  • $42 million to remove asbestos in schools.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said such work was a smart investment when considering a third of all cancers are preventable.

"The money being spent on prevention today will reduce the burden of disease in Victoria for years to come," Mr Harper said. "Every dollar spent on the SunSmart program, for example, results in a $3.60 saving to the Victorian health system. We are also seeing falling melanoma rates in people who have grown up seeing Slip, Slop, Slap on their screens."

All up, the State Government has promised $15.2 million over the next four financial years for SunSmart to run education campaigns that highlight the dangers of sun exposure and provide more shading in public areas.

A key objective of Quitline in 2015-2016 will be reducing higher smoking rates among low socioeconomic groups, young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians and those experiencing mental illness.

Mr Harper said the Cancer Council was looking forward to working with the Government on ensuring obesity prevention is a priority given the link between obesity and overweight and many cancers.

Cancer Facts:

  • Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in Victoria and one of the most preventable. Each week, 784 skin cancers are diagnosed and at least nine people die from the disease.
  • Almost 2250 Victorians died of smoking-related cancers in 2013 - which was nine times the state's road toll of 243 deaths.
  • In 2014 an estimated 128,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia with occupational exposures estimated to account for between 2 and 5 per cent of those.