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Avis Macphee, AM, Former Board Member, Cancer Council Victoria

Wednesday 20 September, 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce that our longstanding former Board member, Avis Macphee, died on Monday.

As a medical scientist and breast cancer patient, Avis dedicated much of her adult life to improving outcomes for cancer patients through her passion for research and patient advocacy.  At age 49, Avis and her sister went in for a routine mammogram on the same day and both were diagnosed with a tumour. Her sister's turned out to be benign, however Avis' was cancerous and the prognosis was poor.

Avis' knowledge of research gave her the confidence to question her oncologist thoroughly when asked to take part in experimental new cancer treatment. Not only did the trial save her life, she was asked to speak with other patients considering the radical treatment. This began her tireless work in service of the community, helping to bridge the gap between the medical community and cancer patients by making the science behind different treatments more accessible. Part of this important work included establishing the Breast Cancer Support Group at the Bone Marrow Donor Institute.

Avis joined the Cancer Council Victoria Board in 2006 until she stepped down in 2015, was a member of the Scientific Committee, Vice President of the Breast Cancer Research Consortium, Chair of Health Services Review Council and a member of the Victorian Cancer Biobank Committee. In 2001 she was the recipient of the Cancer Council President's Award and has been a champion of our ground-breaking, Venture Grants Scheme.

In 2010 Avis's dedication and commitment was recognised when she was made a member of the Order of Australia for her service to community health, particularly as a supporter of research into the treatment and management of breast cancer.

Cancer Council Victoria would like to acknowledge Avis' dedication and tireless work transforming cancer outcomes for patients. Our thoughts are with her family. She will be sadly missed.