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Your support gives hope to people affected by cancer

Tuesday 4 April, 2023

Thanks to your support, $3.3 million has been allocated to 13 cutting-edge Victorian cancer research projects.  

Cancer Council Victoria’s Grants-in-Aid and Postdoctoral Fellowship programs fund high-quality research projects into the causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

These research projects make up part of the $20 million which Cancer Council Victoria invests into cancer research each year thanks to our generous supporters.  

With one in two Victorians diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85, research into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer is critical to improving cancer outcomes and saving lives.  

This February, over 3,000 thousand Victorians showed their support for people affected by cancer on Cancer Research Giving Day. Over $650,000 was donated in just 12 hours, providing crucial investment in cancer researchers like Professor Martha Hickey. 

Professor Hickey leads a team of researchers from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital who are participating in a ground-breaking international study to determine whether removing the fallopian tubes alone is as effective as risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) in preventing ovarian cancer.  

Due to Cancer Council Victoria’s pivotal funding, clinical trials will be able to take place in Melbourne this year. This will be part of a study with well-over a thousand ovarian cancer patients around the world.  

“To prevent ovarian cancer, many people with a BRCA1/2 pathogenic variant undergo a risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO). While this procedure is effective in preventing ovarian cancer, it causes infertility and surgical menopause with potential short and long-term health impacts,” Professor Hickey said. 

“If salpingectomy alone is effective in reducing ovarian cancer risk, this would have a profound impact on the short and long-term health of these patients, who could then avoid surgical menopause.”   

Backing research for improved survival rates 

Since 2015, Cancer Council Victoria has invested more than $40 million in life-saving cancer research and is the largest not-for-profit funder of cancer research in Victoria.  

“For well-over a decade, Cancer Council Victoria has heavily invested in understanding the causes of cancer, understanding how we better prevent cancer, and in understanding how we can develop better treatments of cancer,” said Cancer Council Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer, Todd Harper AM. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted health and medical research, with the economic consequences of the pandemic likely to be felt by the research sector for years to come; compromising a capacity for breakthroughs and innovation that can improve outcomes and save lives. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Cancer Council Victoria has continued to prioritise the funding of lifesaving cancer research,” he said. 

Monash University, The Royal Women’s Hospital, the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Nutt Lab, and the Colorectal Oncogenomic Group were all awarded grants.  

Mr Harper added that as the sector recovers from COVID-19, $3.3 million will provide much needed financial investment in cancer research and will aid the retention of expertise within the sector by supporting Melbourne’s cancer researchers. 

“Investing in high-quality research is essential to make sure Melbourne research institutions retain the best and brightest researchers. It supports our mission to improve cancer outcomes and save lives,” Mr Harper said.  

“Our grants are donor funded and highlight just how important our supporters – the generous Victorian public – are in helping us work towards the next cancer breakthrough.” 

Professor Hickey said that the funding was pivotal to her and her research team.  

“Without this grant, we wouldn’t have been able to commence potential life-saving clinical trials this year, and this funding allows us to continue for three years.”  

More Victorians are surviving cancer than ever before. The five-year survival rate for Victorians diagnosed with cancer has increased 22% over the past 20 years and investment in cancer research will see that number continue to rise. Thank you for helping to fund innovative and life-saving cancer research. People like you are ensuring that more advancements and breakthroughs are possible. 


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