Brain cancer the "forgotten" killer

Thursday 11 May, 2017

Cancer Council Victoria is calling for urgent action on brain cancer, as survival rates for the deadly disease show no signs of improvement.

The "forgotten cancer" claims on average 26 Australian lives every week, and is the leading cancer killer for children under the age of 15, and young people under 39-years-old.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said it was unacceptable that there had been little change in the number of lives lost each year.

"One Australian is diagnosed with brain cancer every six hours but we've seen virtually no improvement in survival rates in the last 20 years. When it comes to investment in research this really is the forgotten cancer," he said.

More than 1300 lives are lost nationally each year to brain cancer but the adult survival rate five years after diagnosis is just 22%, compared to 90% for breast cancer and 95% for prostate cancer.

"We have come so far in Victoria, with two-in-three people surviving for at least five years after a cancer diagnosis. But cancers with high mortality rates, like brain cancer, are being left behind and we must see greater funding for dedicated research," Mr Harper said.

On Friday 12th May, Cancer Council Victoria will host a free forum for Melbourne brain cancer patients and their families.

The forum will offer practical advice on issues such as insurance, rehab and returning to work and will also touch on the psychological challenges of a brain cancer diagnosis.

It will also be an opportunity to hear personal stories from patients and their carers in a supportive environment.

"It is so important for people living with cancer to have support, understanding and information. This will be a great chance to receive that assistance from people who know first-hand the challenges individuals and their families face after diagnosis," Mr Harper said.

To register or find out more visit