2018 Annual Review

Message from the CEO

With your help we made some significant progress in 2018 towards our goals in cancer research, prevention and support.

Following the success of our first bowel cancer screening campaign, we aired another campaign to encourage more Victorians to screen for cancer to detect it early. We also had a positive reaction to our healthy weight campaign, 13 types of cancer, which showed the link between sugary drinks and unhealthy weight, and its risk to cancer.

These types of campaigns are instrumental in educating the community about what causes cancer and how they can reduce that risk. These campaigns are supported by our behavioural scientists who continue to evaluate campaigns and policy to determine the most effective ways to change behaviour.

Our epidemiologists work nationally and internationally to discover more risk factors for cancers like breast, kidney and prostate cancer.  And we were also able to fund more research into low survival cancers and demonstrated to Victorian government the importance of investing in this area. They have come on-board, contributing $1.5 million in funding for further projects.

Part of our mission is to empower patients through providing trusted information and support services to them and their families. Our services include providing free wigs state-wide, holiday breaks for families, free legal and financial advice and peer support to name just a few. All these can be accessed by calling our compassionate nurses on 13 11 20.

These services, along with our other work require the support of the Victorian community. We are a not-for-profit organisation that is independent of Government and relies on charitable support. II thank all our supporters who have given so generously through a donation, fundraising event, have promised a bequest, or who have volunteered their time and services to ensure we can continue to make progress towards a cancer free future.

Lastly, I would like to thank our dedicated staff and Board for their tireless efforts – we couldn’t succeed without you. 

Todd Harper
Cancer Council Victoria

Cancer in Victoria

A person is diagnosed with cancer every 15 minutes – that’s 95 a day.

11,000 Victorians die of cancer each year.

But survival is increasing… 68% of people now survive five years or more after a diagnosis.

In 2018 we spent:

$26.1 million on
cancer research

$19.5 million on
preventing cancer

$7 million on
supporting Victorians with cancer

What you helped us achieve in 2018

As part of our 2017-2021 Strategic Plan we have committed to four goals to achieve our mission of preventing cancer, empowering patients and saving lives.

Goal one: Implement powerful cancer prevention programs for major cancer risk factors: tobacco, UV, diet, obesity and alcohol

We prevented 4,700 cancers in 2018 through the work of our prevention programs including Quit Victoria, SunSmart, and healthy lifestyle campaigns.

Dr Ahmed Aly in the campaign, 13 types of cancer.Photo : Dr Ahmad Aly

Sugary drinks linked to unhealthy weight in new campaign

One of our biggest campaigns of the year focused on showing the link between sugary drinks and unhealthy weight, and that being above a healthy weight is a risk factor for 13 types of cancer.

The campaign, 13 types of cancer featured cancer surgeon Ahmad Aly and was shown across TV, radio, online and out of home in October and November.

It generated substantial media coverage and the campaign was seen by 65-70% of Victorians aged 35-49 years at least once, with 46,000 users (96% new users) coming to the healthy weight website.

Research done by our own epidemiologists has found that drinking sugary drinks could increase cancer risk.

People who regularly drank sugary soft drinks were found to be more at-risk of several types of cancer than those who didn’t, according to the study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal.

“These particular cancers are commonly associated with obesity, however our research found this risk existed for all participants, no matter their size,” Associate Professor Allison Hodge said.

“Our study found that the more sugary soft drinks participants drank, the higher their risk of cancer. This was not the case with those who drank diet soft drinks, suggesting sugar is a key contributor. Even people who were not overweight had an increased cancer risk if they regularly drank sugary soft drinks.”

Our aim is to reduce the amount of sugary drink consumption, and to decrease the levels of unhealthy weight in the community to prevent more cancers.

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Belinda story a stark reminder of cost of skin cancerPhoto : Belinda and her daughter Ebony

Belinda’s story a stark reminder of the cost of skin cancer

A powerful new SunSmart campaign highlighting the personal cost of skin cancer was aired to get parents to protect themselves and their children from the dangers of UV.

The campaign provided an insight into the devastating impact skin cancer can have through the true story of Belinda Karlos. Belinda, a Melbourne mum who died in 2016 aged just 42, left behind her young daughter Ebony.

The campaign features Belinda speaking candidly about having end-stage melanoma, and her heartbreak knowing she won’t be able to see Ebony grow up. The campaign encourages parents to be SunSmart for their children and their own health.

Leading into summer, SunSmart’s UV. It All Adds Up campaign went to air for the fourth year in a row, educating Victorians about the cumulative effect of UV damage.

The latest statistics from the Victorian Cancer Registry show melanoma rates have stabilised or declined in all age groups under the age of 60, reflecting their exposure to the SunSmart message. Mortality rates have also decreased among men and women.

These statistics highlight the importance of continuing mass media campaigns to keep the SunSmart message front of mind.

Our behavioural scientists looked at sun protection behaviours in Melbourne parks, streets and swimming areas and found an abysmally low use of clothing, hats and shade over summer weekends.

The Sun Observation Study monitored teenagers’ and adults’ use of covering clothing, hats, sunglasses and shade in public outdoor settings. Observations took place over six summer weekends in Melbourne, from January to February 2018 and found low protection from clothing in outdoor spaces like pools and in outdoor streets and cafes.

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Defending Australia plain packaging legislation

Defending Australia’s plain packaging legislation

Cancer Council researchers have continued to help Australia defend its tobacco plain packaging laws against Big Tobacco with a win through the World Trade Organization.

For more than five years, Australia had been in a battle against the tobacco industry to defend the laws which began in 2012 – laws that protect and promote the health of Australians.

Cancer Council Victoria was involved in the policy, evaluation and research work that was behind the implementation and evaluation of the laws.

In its decision, the World Trade Organization (WTO) found that “the evidence before us makes clear that new smokers must continuously be recruited to maintain the primary demand for tobacco products at a level that will sustain the industry and ‘replace’ those who cease to use the product because they have quit or died”.

It concluded that “Plain packaging measures, in combination with other tobacco control measures, ‘are apt to, and do in fact, contribute to Australia’s objective of reducing the use of, and exposure to, tobacco products’”.

The decision not only benefits Australia, but also gives strength to other governments to follow Australia's leadership in tobacco control without fear of violating international trade and intellectual property laws.

Since Australia introduced plain packaging, nine countries have adopted it and numerous others are planning on introducing similar measures.

The McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer – an initiative of Cancer Council and Union for International Cancer Control – works to advance the global momentum towards plain packaging by upskilling government lawyers and policymakers from low- and middle-income countries where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.

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Goal two: Mobilise community participation in cancer screening and immunisation programs

Through our campaigns we want to increase the participation rate in the National bowel and cervical screening programs.

Life-saving bowel campaign wins awardAn image from our 'Do the home screening test – it could save your life' campaign

Life-saving bowel campaign wins award

Cancer Council Victoria has won a prestigious VicHealth award for its campaign Do the home screening test – it could save your life which ran in 2017. The campaign won in the highly competitive ‘Communications in health promotion’ category.

The VicHealth awards are Victoria’s highest accolade for health promotion, recognising outstanding achievements in Victoria’s health promotion sector.

Cancer Council Victoria’s winning campaign targeted people aged 50-74 who were eligible to receive a National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) test in the mail, or who had already received one at home but hadn’t yet done the test.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death claiming the lives of 1,310 Victorians every year, but if detected early, 90% of bowel cancers can be treated successfully.

But only 41% of eligible Victorians take advantage of the free screening test.

Cancer Council Victoria’s 2017 donor-funded mass media campaign aimed to encourage more Victorians to do the test when it arrived at their home.

The 2017 campaign resulted in about 12,500 additional Victorians taking the test. It’s estimated that this prevented about 300 cancer cases and saved approximately 180 lives.

This success encouraged Cancer Council Victoria to run the campaign again in 2018, also with the help of our donors.

The success of the campaigns has been a factor in the Federal Government to provide Cancer Council Australia $10 million to run a national mass media campaign during 2019 to increase participation nation-wide.

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Uncle Jack encourages Aboriginal community to screenPhoto : Uncle Jack spreading an important message

Uncle Jack encourages Aboriginal community to screen

Aboriginal actor and performer Uncle Jack Charles was the voice and face of an animation aiming to increase cancer screening in Victoria’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians are less likely than non-Aboriginal Australians to participate in the national bowel, breast and cervical cancer screening programs.

Early detection increases the chances of cancer being successfully treated yet estimates show that less than a quarter (19%) of eligible Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people are participating in bowel screening, compared to 41% of the general population.

The lower participation rate is believed to be part of the reason why cancer mortality rates are higher amongst the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community.

Both cancer incidence and mortality rates were significantly higher in both men and women than in non-Aboriginal Victorians, with 190 new diagnoses and 78 cancer-related deaths.

The most common cancers for Aboriginal Victorians are the same as for non-Aboriginal Victorians, lung, breast, bowel and prostate cancer

The greater mortality rates experienced by Aboriginal Victorians reflect those cancers for which incidence is higher but may also be associated with diagnoses occurring at more advanced disease stage. This could reflect problems around timely access to treatment and lower participation in cancer screening programs.

Committed to reconciliation

Cancer Council Victoria is committed to Closing the Gap through the goals set out in its Reconciliation Action Plan.

Achievements to date include the introduction of cultural and ceremonial leave for staff, publication of annual Aboriginal cancer incidence and mortality data, cultural awareness training, and working with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation to reduce the impact of cancer on the community.

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Cervical cancer to become a rare cancerPhoto : Our campaign to encourage more people in the LGBTIQ community to screen

Cervical cancer to become a rare cancer

Australia is set to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer following the success of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination program and the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.

New research has shown that if vaccination and screening coverage are maintained at their current rates, cervical cancer is likely to be eliminated as a public health issue within 20 years.

These findings indicate that Australia is on-track to be the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer by successfully implementing a combined approach to vaccination and screening.

This result is also thanks in part to our work with PapScreen Victoria which began in 1991 and helped encourage women to get screened for cervical cancer.

To further decrease the impact of cervical cancer, Cancer Council Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health joined forces to encourage more people in the LGBTIQ community to undergo regular cervical screening.

Latest research shows that around 1 in 5 (20%) Victorians with a cervix, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, same sex attracted, transgender, or who have an intersex variation, have never had cervical screening.

Cancer Council Victoria Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation Manager, Kate Broun, said the top two reasons that LGBTIQ Victorians didn’t undergo cervical screening is because they were embarrassed or frightened, or because they thought they did not need to.

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Goal three: Empower patients by delivering dynamic, credible information and compassionate support

The number of Australians living with or beyond cancer is expected to increase by a staggering 72% in the next 22 years, so our support services continue to grow and adapt to support all Victorians affected by cancer.

Dr Susan Carland shares her tips on feeling confident with headwearPhoto : Dr Carland with Cancer Council staff at our wig workshop

Dr Susan Carland shares her tips on feeling confident with headwear

Having received multiple requests on how to use head scarfs, Dr Susan Carland generously joined us for a workshop at Cancer Council Victoria in May for women experiencing cancer-related hair loss.

One of the more confronting aspects of cancer treatment can be losing hair. It can add to the anxiety and fear around a cancer diagnosis and can make people feel exposed and vulnerable. Wearing a wig, headscarf or beanie can help. Many find that a well-fitted wig gives them more confidence during treatment and can help them to keep their diagnosis private.

Our Wig Service is free, private and personalised with an extensive range of synthetic wigs along with headscarves, beanies and cotton caps available. People can visit in person with one of our cancer nurses, or when travel is not an option, a wig is sent through our recently established mail service.

In 2018, 234 people benefited from our Wig Service including 51 regional patients. Since inception of the regional program in 2017, 78 wigs have been mailed to people affected by cancer living in regional Victoria.

“Believe it or not, the first wig I chose was ‘the one’, it made me feel safe and secure going out into the outside world after I lost my hair. The cancer nurse who looked after me was just wonderful and I left feeling more confident about my cancer journey.”  Ruth, Wig Service client

Six tutorial videos were created from the workshop for women to access any time on our website. The videos demonstrate tips and styles for those wanting to learn how to choose, wear and style a headscarf or wig.

Our Wig Service is available by appointment only. To make a booking or for more information, call 13 11 20 or email askanurse@cancervic.org.au.

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Cancer information at hand for regional patientsPhoto : We are increasing access to resources for regional patients

Cancer information at hand for regional patients

Victorian patients, carers and family will have increased access to credible cancer information thanks to funding for information hubs at regional health services.

Thanks to the generosity of participants in the Dry July fundraiser, we were able to award $10,000 grants to three regional health services to improve access to information and support.

The need for information hubs was clear with 15 organisations applying for funding. Three sites were chosen after review for their location and differing health settings: a treatment centre in Kyabram, rehabilitation centre in Castlemaine and a mobile-mode of information delivery for men's health forums near Wangaratta.

The sites will establish new or refurbished areas where information can be displayed for patients and their families to access. The space will display our suite of resources including different cancer types, treatment options, side effects, tips on returning to work and advice on dealing with financial or legal issues.

To help sites set up their hubs, a working group with representatives from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Olivia Newton John Wellness Centre and Cancer Council Victoria has come together to share best-practice experience.

Cancer Council will create a toolkit from this to support future information hubs. The toolkit will recommend how to plan for information delivery, including resource selection, staff and volunteer education, linking with local services and engagement strategies for patients and carers, family and friends.

We hope to secure more funding for another round of applications to establish information hubs in other parts of regional Victoria.

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Goal four: Maximise the impact of cancer research and cancer data

We are investing in, and undertaking research to improve the way we prevent, detect and treat all cancers.

Prestigious Dunlop Fellowship awardedPhoto : Prof Mark Dawson with our CEO Todd Harper

Prestigious Dunlop Fellowship awarded

With the help of our generous supporters, a researcher developing new epigenetics-based therapies to treat cancer has received a $1.55 million research fellowship from Cancer Council Victoria.

Professor Mark Dawson, a clinician and scientist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, will use the five-year Sir Edward Dunlop Research Fellowship to continue his pioneering research into ‘epigenetic regulators’.

“This is the most common class of genes and proteins mutated in cancer and they control the critical processes of gene expression, DNA repair and DNA replication,” Professor Dawson said.

“My lab at Peter Mac is identifying new methods to influence and ultimately target these epigenetic regulators with drugs that can counteract cancers that are hard to treat.

“For example, this approach could yield new ways to eradicate cancer stem cells which we know are very adept at evading the immune system, and many cancer drugs, to sustain the malignancy.”

Professor Dawson’s research has a particular focus on, and application to, blood cancers including acute myeloid leukaemia.

Unlike conventional chemotherapies that often supress the immune system, targeted therapies such as epigenetic therapies may enable the patient’s active immune system to recognise cancer cells as foreign and ultimately help eradicate them.

Professor Dawson’s discoveries in this field over ten years include helping to develop a first-in-class epigenetic therapy now being assessed in more than 30 multi-centre clinical trials around the world.

If successful, Professor Dawson’s research could pioneer new treatments for a broad array of cancers, benefiting not only Victorian cancer patients but also those worldwide.

This is the fifth cancer research Fellowship named in memory of Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop AC, CMG OBE, to mark his contribution to Australia and, in particular, to the work of Cancer Council Victoria.

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Funding increased for low survival cancer researchPhoto : Cancer Council is committed to funding more low-survival cancer research

Funding increased for low survival cancer research

While five-year survival rates for cancers like breast have improved to over 90% thanks to long-term research, there has been little improvement for low-survival cancers.

These cancers in which less than 50% of patients survive at least five years past diagnosis, make up nearly 20% of all cancer diagnoses – yet represent more than 40% of cancer deaths each year. For many people with low-survival cancers there are very few or no treatment options available.

To help change this, we are working in collaboration with 12 other not-for-profit organisations as part of the Low Survival Cancers Alliance.

The Alliance is advocating for significant investment from Government and other funding bodies to help us provide a better future for those diagnosed.

We have already had some success in 2018. The Victorian Government announced an extra $1.5 million in funding for low-survival cancer research projects. This funding contributed to Cancer Council Victoria’s Grants-in-Aid program and the successful projects will generate much-needed breakthroughs.

Three projects beginning in 2019 include a ground-breaking study in oesophageal cancer patients trialling new blood tests (liquid biopsies) to identify the extent of disease and how likely a patient is to respond to treatment. Dr Nicholas Clemons at The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will lead this study to help guide treatment decision making for people with oesophageal cancer.

Dr Catherine Granger from the University of Melbourne will evaluate whether exercise can minimise the impact of exercise with lung cancer, and Dr Moritz Eissman at LaTrobe University aims to develop a new targeted treatment for gastric cancers using antibody therapies.

As part of our own Forgotten Cancers Program, researchers in the Cancer Epidemiology Division are working to discover more about the causes of less common and low-survival cancers so we can better prevent them.

These projects include the EMMA Study focusing on multiple myeloma, the LEAF Study of follicular lymphoma and the CONFIRM Study investigating the causes of kidney cancer.

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Stories from our supporters

Our volunteers, fundraisers and supporters enable us in everything we do. We thank them for their passion and commitment. View the list of our major supporters.

Walking StarsPhoto : Jess with her young son and friends before the start of the walk

Walking stars event a way to honour loved ones

Our Walking Stars event on December 1 was a fantastic success raising $280,000 with over 1,826 people participating, including Jess who did the event in honour of her late husband who died from brain cancer.

Just four days before their wedding, Jess’s husband Russ was diagnosed with brain cancer and they were told he had two months to live.

At the time, Jessica was seven months pregnant. The news came as a complete shock to the happy couple.

“I was uncontrollably upset obviously, because we were about to have a baby as well as planning our new life down here,” Jess said.

Russ ended up living for five months and was there to meet his newborn son.

Nearly two years later, Jessica read about our Walking Stars event and asked her friends to join her for the 21-kilometre walk through the city of Melbourne.

“It was amazing how my fundraising spread through work colleagues and extended networks. That has been so surprising and wonderful. I'm really grateful for what they've contributed,” Jess said.

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Kyen's small act makes a big differencePhoto : Kyen met with Professor Jeremy Millar from Alfred Health to see what happens in a laboratory

Kyen’s generous act makes a big difference

Ten-year-old Kyen’s footy card collection is so large that it would be the envy of any AFL fan. He started his collection when he was just three and his grandmother bought him a packet. “I really got into them and started collecting,” he shared.

Kyen’s aunty passed away from cancer, and his beloved grandfather Billy (whom the family affectionately dubs ‘Grumpy’) was diagnosed with throat cancer.

That’s when Kyen decided he wanted to do something. “I wanted to stop cancer so I started to sell my footy cards.”

He set up a stall outside his family’s shop in Trafalgar where he ended up smashing his original goal of $1,000; raising an incredible $6,143 as an individual I Will for Cancer fundraiser.

This meant he qualified for a research award, which will be funding research into low survival and rare cancers.

“I hope my fundraising will save someone and that cancer is going to be extinct by 2035,” said Kyen.

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First Relay For Life event celebrates 20 years Photo : Local Federal Member of Parliament, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer officially opens the Murrumbeena Relay For Life event

First Relay For Life event celebrates 20 years

The first ever Australian Relay For Life celebrated its 20th anniversary in October. Murrumbeena Relay For Life was the first event held in the country, raising $75,000. It has since raised $1.7 million towards cancer research, prevention and support.

The anniversary celebrations included a large contingent of Cancer Council staff, former Murrumbeena RFL participants and committee members and Peter Hitchener leading the Candle Light ceremony and local Federal Member of Parliament, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer speaking at the Opening Ceremony.

There was a jam-packed schedule of entertainment with fantastic local bands, singers and dancers performing throughout the event as well as a silent disco, face painting, and jumping castle.

There were 20 teams involved, raising $70,886.00 – a fantastic achievement.

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Victorians out in force for Daffodil DayPhoto : Our Daffodil Day volunteers Tevisht, Amber and Rohini

Victorians out in force for Daffodil Day

The sun was shining on Daffodil Day as thousands of Victorians showed their support for those affected by cancer.

Regional Victoria was busy with local volunteers behind stalls in main streets and in shopping centres. In Melbourne we had street corners covered with fundraisers and some new cutting-edge sites, which performed extremely well, with most doubling their fundraising efforts.

Daffodil Day wouldn’t have been the success it was without the more than 1600 volunteers who took part – a wonderful effort.

Our corporate partners, including Rialto and Collins Square were enthusiastic participants, installing eye-catching activations and encouraging staff to take part as volunteers.

Community Manager at Rialto, Sarah Balzer (pictured at the top of the Annual Review), helped with Rialto Melbourne’s display in their Piazza, where thousands of single daffodils were placed into vases.

Funds raised from Daffodil Day went to vital cancer research to find out more about what causes cancer, to find better ways of detecting cancer earlier, and new treatments that will provide patients with better outcomes.

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Our board

Message from the chair

Message from the chair

The inroads we made in 2018 would not have been possible without the work of our staff, volunteers and the support of the community.

I’d like to thank the members of the Board who have worked with Cancer Council Victoria staff to deliver successful prevention programs, compassionate support services and invest in world-leading research that will lead to better ways of detecting cancer and new treatments. The Board comprises a diverse group of talented, diligent, and thoughtful people from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds. They freely donate their time to contribute and I’m very thankful for the support and guidance they provide.

Professor Joe Trapani and the Medical and Scientific Committee oversee the second-largest program of funding for cancer research (after the NHMRC) in Victoria. An external review of this program of work during the last year the showed impact matching that of global leaders. The committee should be commended for their part in growing and nurturing this research effort.

The Board’s Finance, Risk and Audit committee was ably led by Ms Jacinda de Witts until mid-2018 when she commenced a new day-job as Senior Counsel, Department of Health and Human Services. In 2019, the Chair of this important committee will be Ms Fiona Green. This committee provides crucial advice and guidance to the board on aspects relating to organisational risk, internal and external audit and Cancer Council’s finances. I am grateful to them for the many hours of careful attention and discussion they devote to assisting the vital work that enables the organisation to achieve its mission.         

I would also like to acknowledge our partnerships with both state and federal governments to deliver important programs like the bowel cancer screening campaigns, the Quit program and SunSmart, as well as our relationships with the other Cancer Councils around Australia.

With thousands of Victorians living with cancer, the work of Cancer Council has never been more important. In my day-time clinical role, I see examples every day of the struggle of patients and their loved ones with the effects of cancer, and how Cancer Council can help and provide information, reassurance, and practical assistance. I look forward to further working with the community to reduce the impact of cancer and provide hope to families.

Professor Jeremy Millar
Chair of the Board

Board committees

The Board approves strategic directions, organisation structure, policies and implementation processes to ensure Cancer Council Victoria can achieve its mission.

Supporting them are the board committees:

And our expert advisory committees:

Our team

Cancer Council Victoria promotes a diverse and inclusive workplace. We strive for excellence in how we undertake our work, ensure integrity in personal and professional behaviour and demonstrate compassion and respect for others.

Gender diversity

  Women - 81%
  Men - 19%

Gender balance of our executive team

  Women - 56%
  Men - 44%

Type of employment

  Full time - 52%
  Part time - 38%
  Casual - 10%


Key financial results for 2018

Cancer Council Victoria recorded a net deficit for 2018 of $8.6m, due to reduced charitable support income and increased expenditure.

An Accumulated Surplus of $31.7m highlights a continuing healthy financial position.

At 31 December 2018, cash of $1.4 million and investments of $87.4 million were available to fund Cancer Council’s operating activities. The reinvestment of income into diversified assets reduces liquidity risk for the organisation and maximises our ability to deliver significant and sustainable operational results in the future. An investment mandate designed to mitigate exposure to market losses is reviewed annually by management and FRAC members.

Million 2017 2018
Revenue from transactions 76.9 62.3
Expenses from transactions (66.4) (69.3)
Other comprehensive income 2.5 (1.6)
Net result from continuing operations 13.0 (8.6)
Total Assets 106.3 100.9
Net Assets 84.9 76.3
Accumulated Surplus 36.0 31.7
Reserves 48.9 44.6
Total Equity 84.9 76.3
Cash Flow ($ movement) 0.2 (1.6)


Where the money came from

Investment income in 2018 of $3.5 million has also contributed to the overall result.

2017 - $45.5 million
2018 - $26.8 million
External funding
2017 - $24.1 million
2018 - $26.9 million
2017 - $7.3 million
2018 - $8.6 million

Fundraising income

Fundraising income was $26.8m in 2018, which is $18.7m lower than last year, largely driven by a decrease in bequests.

One of the strategic priorities for the organisation in 2018 was the stabilisation of revenue levels through a focus on cost control within some programs and investment in innovative new funding models. This approach has been reflected in reduced levels of donation income and in the rationalisation of some mature programs which, combined with early positive financial indicators in 2019, has us well placed for the coming year.

Bequest income of $10.3 million was lower than both the five-year rolling average of $15 million and the prior year result ($26.4 million in 2017). This reflects the small number of high value gifts that were received late in 2017 and a historical decline in bequests every 5-7 years.

2017 - $8.2 million
2018 - $6.3 million
2017 - $10.9 million
2018 - $10.2 million
2017 - $26.4 million
2018 - $10.3 million

External income

State funding has increased by $3.6m, particularly for research related programs. We have also continued to be successful in securing research funding through organisations such as the National Health and Medical Research Council.

2017 - $17.3 million
2018 - $20.9 million
2017 - $5.1 million
2018 - $4.8 million
2017 - $1.7 million
2018 - $1.2 million


Where the money was spent

Total expenditure increased by $2.9m to $69.3 million in 2018, which represented a slight underspend against internal targets. Research, Prevention & Support programs increased by $2.4 million to $52.6 million and the Cancer Council continued investment in the strategic initiatives of bowel cancer screening, obesity prevention programs, as well as research grants for low survival cancers.

Cancer research
2017 - $28.2 million
2018 - $26.1 million
Cancer prevention
2017 - $16.1 million
2018 - $19.5 million
Cancer support
2017 - $5.9 million
2018 - $7.0 million
2017 - $12.7 million
2018 - $12.9 million
Other (including costs of retail)
2017 - $3.5 million
2018 - $3.7 million

Expenditure by strategic priority

2017 - $26.7 million
2018 - $24.9 million
2017 - $13.6 million
2018 - $16.6 million
2017 - $8.5million
2018 - $9.9 million
2017 - $3.0 million
2018 - $3.3 million

The research we undertake and fund

Each year we fund research covering a wide variety of cancer types, and looking at a range of support and prevention issues.

This research is carried out both here at Cancer Council Victoria, such as our Australian Breakthrough Cancer Study, and externally at other research institutions such as hospitals and universities. This graph represents all direct research expenditure undertaken in 2018.

It includes the research we fund thanks to the generosity of the Victorian community, and also that funded through independently won grants, for example from National Health & Medical Research Council.

Accumulated surplus and reserves

Accumulated Surplus decreased by $4.3m to $31.7m.

Capital profits derived from the sale of land and buildings. These profits are being allocated over time to build the capability of the organisation.

Bequest funding where both capital and interest is restricted to research projects, and is allocated to projects over time.

Funding from competitively won grants and contracts where the project remains incomplete at year end. These funds are available to complete the designated projects only.

Donor funds received for specific projects not yet completed, and available only to complete those projects.

Capital value of donations or bequests received with the condition that the funds be invested and only the incomes used for specific purposes.

Reserve used to recognise increases and decreases in the fair value of investment assets through other comprehensive income.

Million 2017 2018
Accumulated surplus 2.9 3.3
General reserve 16.4 14.3
Research fund 4.0 2.3
External grants 13.1 14.8
Other restricted funds 7.1 7.5
Special funds 3.5 3.5
FVOCI (Fair Value Through Other Comprehensive Income) 4.8 2.2
Total 51.8 47.9

Tied vs untied income

Tied funds have restrictions on the program they may be applied against whereas there are no restrictions on untied funding.

The proportion of untied income has decreased this year from 61% to 55% largely due to the reduction in charitable support bequests.

2017 - $29.6 million
2018 - $28.3 million
2017 - $47.3 million
2018 - $34.0 million

Looking forward

Cancer Council Victoria is committed to ensuring that government and donor funds are utilised to deliver our mission and strategy in a responsible and sustainable manner. In a competitive fundraising environment, it is critical that we continue to identify and invest in new and innovative initiatives to identify sustainable future income streams. While these and other initiatives will take time to generate the anticipated returns, the organisation will continue to prioritise the achievement of our strategic goals within our existing supporter base while looking to retain the world-class expertise within our workforce.

For more information, see the full set of Cancer Council Victoria audited financial statements.

Fiona Green
Chair, Finance, Risk and Audit Committee