Cancer Council Victoria is highlighting the importance of investment in clinical trials ahead of Daffodil Day this Friday 24 August, with less than 6% of Victorian adult cancer patients currently taking part.
Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria CEO, said the organisation hopes to raise awareness and funds for investing in gold-standard cancer research this Daffodil Day, research that could save the life of a loved one in the future.
There are approximately 350 cancer clinical trials open to cancer patients in Victoria, yet recruitment has remained low. There are many reasons for this, with patient awareness one contributor.
“Cancer clinical trials participation has remained stagnant over the past three decades, with the figure lower among minority groups.
“Many people may not know that there are world-class clinical trials being conducted across Victoria, enabling people with cancer to live longer with a better quality of life. That’s why we want to make sure all Victorian cancer patients are well informed on clinical trials so they are afforded the same opportunity to take part.”
Daffodil Day will celebrate its 32nd year on Friday, while Cancer Council has been investing in clinical trials for 30 years in Victoria.
“Over the past three decades Cancer Council has provided about $20 million in funding for clinical trials through the Cancer Trials Management Scheme, which hopes to build sector capacity and improve patient access to clinical trials,” Mr Harper said.
Part of this Scheme includes a collaboration with the Victorian Government to provide grant funding to trial sites that propose innovative ways of improving patient access to trials. Four grants were awarded in 2017, totalling $2.5 million over three years.
Mr Harper said that engaging regional and rural patients in clinical trials is a priority as part of the Scheme to ensure they have the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts.
“A project that we currently fund aims to connect the entire Victorian regional cancer community by streamlining clinical trial processes and improving regional patient’s access to high quality cancer clinical trials.
“We are delighted to be able to fund projects that enable as many people as possible to have access to a clinical trial, including in regional areas, as part of our commitment to extend opportunities to potentially lifesaving cancer treatments to all Victorians,” Mr Harper said.
Carrie Field has been on a clinical trial for the past two years for chronic myeloid leukaemia after exhausting every available treatment option on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
“The idea of a clinical trial was a little daunting at first, but it has turned out to be a great experience and very successful in treating my cancer, giving me improved outcomes and a better quality of life than I had on previous treatments.
“I would encourage other cancer patients around Victoria to discuss the option of a clinical trial with their treating team and investigate what choices they may have available to them. Not only can it provide you with hope through a new and effective treatment, but benefit others who may need new treatment options in the future. ”
For more information or to search every treatment trial across the state, including those run out of rural and regional hospitals, visit the Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) website: cancervic.org.au/trials
This year, Cancer Council hopes to recruit more than 1,500 volunteers to staff around 250 sites across Victoria on Daffodil Day, with the aim of raising $1 million to support life-saving cancer research.
Visit daffodilday.com.au to support Daffodil Day and help fund Cancer Council’s vital life-saving research.
Cancer Council will hold a webinar ‘Cancer clinical trials: What to know and who to ask’ on Tuesday 28th August 2018.
The free webinar will provide a better understanding of why clinical trials are important and what it means to get involved. The webinar will explore some of the common myths around participation and highlight the role of trials in cancer care.
To find out more or to register visit: www.cancervic.org.au/cancer-information/treatments/clinical-trials/webinar-what-to-know-who-ask.html
About Cancer Council
Cancer Council is Australia’s leading cancer charity working across every aspect of every cancer. Every day, we support families affected by cancer when they need it most, speak out on behalf of the community on cancer issues, empower people to reduce their cancer risk, and find new ways to better detect and treat cancer. With your help, we’re getting closer to a cancer free future every minute, every hour, every day.