Cancer Council Victoria is calling on the next Victorian Government to invest in the future of cancer support, highlighting areas of opportunity where increased funding can shape the way we approach cancer care and help people affected by cancer navigate the complexities of treatment, finances, and the physical and emotional side-effects of cancer.
Whilst significant progress has been made to reduce the burden of cancer, by 2025 – 2029 it is estimated that 42,000 Victorians will be diagnosed with the disease each year. Further, there have been an estimated 2,420 undiagnosed cancers in Victoria in 2020 alone due to the pandemic, meaning urgent action and innovation are needed to address potentially later-stage diagnoses and the unmet support needs of people with cancer.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO, Mr Todd Harper AM, said Cancer Council was ready to work with the next Victorian Government and help shape cancer support services to meet current and future demand.
“In the last two years we provided support to more than 25,000 Victorians, who needed our help navigating isolation and loneliness, vaccinations, delays in treatment and hospital visitor restrictions – common areas of distress for people affected by cancer. In the last 12 months alone, around 34% of calls to our 13 11 20 Cancer Information and Support line were from people needing psycho-social and emotional support,” said Mr Harper
“Cancer Council has stepped up to provide services for those affected by increasing our financial and emotional counselling programs and we are committed to scaling up these supports to help more people in the years ahead,” he said.
In the area of support, Cancer Council is calling on the next Victorian Government to:
- Help more Victorians access cancer navigation and support services. This includes improving access and awareness for people from underserved groups, which can include Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, rural and regional people, people with disabilities and those of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- Provide mental health support for more Victorians affected by cancer by increasing funding to enable Cancer Council to expand its new stepped-care nurse counselling model to deliver over 2500 mental health sessions a year.
- Fund four scholarships for health professionals, including nurses with a primary role in supporting people with cancer, to upskill them in mental health support to build work force capacity and address unmet need
“We are committed to working with the next Victorian Government to improve access to cancer navigation and support to ensure we get cancer recovery right,” Mr. Harper said.
In the areas of prevention and early detection, investment can provide long-term health and economic returns by helping reduce health costs and saving lives. One third of cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Cancer Council Victoria’s priorities for the next Victorian Government lie in investment to:
- Increase cervical screening rates and HPV vaccination rates in priority populations to eliminate cervical cancer by 2030.
- Detect bowel cancers earlier through media awareness campaigns and tailored communications to reach under screened populations.
- Protect children from unhealthy food and drink advertising near schools and on public transport and public transport infrastructure to improve diets and reduce their risk of unhealthy weight and risk of thirteen cancers later in life.
- Reduce the burden of skin cancer by renewing Victoria’s commitment to skin cancer prevention and early detection.
- Protect our children from access to and the harms of tobacco and e-cigarettes, including the introduction of a retail licensing scheme and increased funding for campaigns to help people quit smoking and vaping.
“We are experienced and ready to work with communities, non-government organisations and health workers and welcome the opportunity to work with the next Victorian Government to achieve the goals set out in the Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-2024. We stand committed to working on the post pandemic cancer recovery together, for the benefit of all Victorians,” added Mr Harper.
Cancer Council Victoria’s Election Priorities 2022