$2.5 million to provide research hope for low survival cancers

Research into low survival cancers has received a boost today, with an announcement of $2.5 million from the Victorian Government and Cancer Council Victoria to investigate cancers in which less than 50% of patients survive at least five years past diagnosis.

The funding will support eight new research projects to generate breakthroughs in cancers such as lung, pancreatic, brain, mesothelioma and stomach cancer, among others.

Research

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said the lack of research investment over many years directly relates to the lack of improvements in survival outcomes for patients affected by these cancers.

Cancer Council will also invest in early career researchers working on low survival cancers to encourage them to pursue careers in this type of research .

“We know that to improve survival for low survival cancers comprehensive research investment is required. Cancer Council Victoria is committed to investing in this area of research to provide hope for people affected by these cancers, and is proud to be announcing $1 million in research funding today.”

“We have seen some great success with cancers that have received significant and consistent funding so we know this model works. For example, breast cancer has seen improved 5-year survival from 70% in 1981 to now over 90% in 2016.”

New hope for people with low survival cancers

"I rang my mum and we were both so happy and babbling with tears. This means so much to me and my family, along with all the other families I know who have suffered and lost." - Kaitlyn, brain cancer survivor and research advocate

Mr Harper said that in 2016, 24% of the 33,000 cancers diagnosed in Victoria were cancers with 5-year survival of less than 50%.

“The lack of funding for research can mean there is very little or no treatment options, which leads to a loss of ‘hope’ for people with low survival cancers. For some cancers there has been very little improvement in treatment and research in the past few decades.

“This funding, and continued investment into the future, will provide hope to patients and their families that treatments will be available, with potential for more treatment improvements in the coming decade.”

Cancer Council Victoria has also announced two post-doctoral fellowships into low-survival cancers today, to the amount of $151,000, to support Victorian scientists who have recently completed a PhD.

To find out more about low survival cancers visit: www.cancervic.org.au/research/forgottencancersprogram

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