Our Forgotten Cancers Program

At Cancer Council Victoria, we are committed to improving survival for less common and low survival cancers. Our Forgotten Cancers Program is working to achieve this through epidemiological and laboratory- based research, and advocating for increased funding.

Our Forgotten Cancers Program


  • Bladder
  • Bone
  • Brain
  • GallBladder
  • Small Intestine
  • Kidney
  • Leukaemia
  • Liver
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Oesophagus
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Thyroid
  • Uterus


The Forgotten Cancers Project

We have recruited 4,213 Australians who have had a less common cancer to provide information about their lifestyle, environment and family history, along with a saliva (DNA) sample, to help us find out more about the causes of these types of cancers.

We are now consolidating the data we have collected to make it available to Australian and international research projects to increase our understanding of these cancers, and improve the way we prevent and treat them.

The Forgotten Cancers Project was designed to facilitate research into less common cancers. Cancer Council Victoria researchers are currently collaborating with two international consortia, the Pancreatic Cancer Cohort Consortium (PanScan) and the International Lymphoma Epidemiology Consortium (InterLymph).

Data collected in the Forgotten Cancers Project and other studies internationally are being used to investigate genetic risk factors for pancreatic cancer and lymphoid malignancies such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

You can find out more about the project here.

Five-Year Cancer Survival Rates

90% breast cancer

< 50% low survival cancers

Our Full Research Program

Research we fund

Each year we fund research projects taking place in Victorian hospitals and universities that are working on developing new treatment options for less common and low survival cancers. We are currently funding two projects into new treatments for lung cancer, including this one, and one into liver cancer.

We have recently funded the Melbourne Mesothelioma Research Collaborative, and are currently funding a project into the causes of the disease, and another hoping to develop targeted therapy for malignant mesothelioma.

Research we do

As well as the Forgotten Cancers Project, researchers in our Cancer Epidemiology Division are working on additional projects to discover more about the causes of less common cancers. These projects include the EMMA Study, focused on multiple myeloma, the LEAF Study of follicular lymphoma and the CONFIRM Study investigating the causes of kidney cancer.

Low Survival Cancers Alliance

While the five-year survival for cancers such as breast has improved to 90% thanks to long-standing investment in research, we are extremely concerned about the lack of research progress for low survival cancers. These cancers include mesothelioma, pancreas, liver, lung, oesophagus, gallbaldder, brain, adult acute myeloid leukaemia, stomach, and cancer of unknown primary. Victorians diagnosed today with a low survival cancer have a less than 50% chance of being alive in five years. For some, five-year survival is as low as 7%.

Cancer Council Victoria has joined with 12 other organisations to form the Low Survival Cancers Alliance. This Alliance is advocating for funding over the next ten years to help build the capacity of Victorian research into low survival cancers, grow the critical mass of researchers, and drive improvements in survival.


© Cancer Council Victoria